Animal kingdom

From Anthroposophy

The current animal kingdom is one of the Four kingdoms of nature that arose through the consecutive stages of evolution, whereby at each stage a certain group of laggers was not able to evolve the next structural bodily principle. Animals have their group I on the astral plane, and physical bodies on Earth (see Schema FMC00.142B below). The animal kingdom receives its form and intelligence from the animal group soul and the formative forces of the third elementary kingdom, both influences working from the astral world (see Schema FMC00.175A below).

This major difference between Man and animal is that Man has the faculties of the human 'I' principle, like waking consciousness and upright walking speaking thinking. The animal has a horizontal spine does not have these faculties. As a result of the human 'I', Man can learn through incarnations, whereas individual physical animals have limited learning faculties because they are bound by the common astral group soul.

Man has a special relationship with certain animals that were breeded in the Atlantean epoch, eg the bees, the horse, dogs and cats.

Where does the animal kingdom originate from then, compared to humanity?

Like the other nature kingdoms, animals are the parts of the evolutionary funnel that stayed behind and were not able to develop all the bodily principles that Man has to date. In the case of animals, they failed to attain the fourth 'I' principle, so their highest bodily principle is the astral soul principle, which however is not individualized but at a group level.

During the Old Moon evolutionary stage, the then-highest kingdom of 'animal-man' developed (see Schema FMC00.181 on Group souls of humanity) as the original thoughts of the angels, from the substance sacrificed by the Spirits of Motion (SoM).

On Earth, this kingdom of 'animal-man' further developed into two separate kingdoms that each rose or sank vs the previous developmental stage, incorporating the I principle or not:

As a result, Man 'pushed down' the current animal kingdom and was and is able to rise in its own development thanks to the animal kingdom (see the development phase of the Centaur), just as he owes his own development to all other lower kingdoms.

Man wil redeem the animal kingdom in the sixth Condition of Life (CoL) on Earth, see Earth rounds perspective.


  • the animal group-souls are the normal proper offspring of the Spirits of Motion, they dwell on and work down from the planets upon the animals; this way seven principal animal groups were formed (1912-04-13-GA136, see Human races#1912-04-13-GA136; see also amber colour on Schema FMC00.142)
  • taxonomy - classification:
    • Rudolf Steiner mentions six or seven main groups (as related to the planets and group souls, 1912-04-13-GA136) as well as sixteen main groups (mineral-physical precipitation on Earth, 1909-05-17-GA104A), but without listing these or describing them further.
    • Modern science has many complex ways to structure the taxonomy and classifications. However in broad popular terms six main categories are: invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals. To these six sometimes various others are added, like eg arthropods, mollusks.


  • the whole animal kingdom was once within Man, who was then between the human realm and the animal kingdom of today. In order to be able to develop further, he had to separate off from himself those parts which could not go with him. He separated the parts which form the animal kingdom of today. Originally the animals were much less sharply differentiated from Man than they now are, but they gradually degenerated. (1906-09-04-GA095)
  • there exist animals with no eyes, relics of the time when the Earth was still united with the sun, for eyes only have meaning when there is light, such light as streams to Earth from the sun when it is outside. (1910-10-24-GA124)
  • Lemurian epoch
  • sequence of slowly separating off the animal kingdom (1906-09-04-GA095)
    • first the fishes were separated, then the reptiles and amphibians, then the birds and the mammals. Within each group there was again a gradual separating off: eg beasts of prey were separated earlier than the apes, etc.
    • when the lions were separated, the Sun was in the constellation called Lion, and when the bull-nature was separated, it was in the constellation called Bull. [see Zodiac clock, the Lemurian epoch before Schema FMC00.544]
    • evolutionary explanation for the development of vertebrates and invertebrates (as related to the departure of the Sun, see Iwer Thor Lorenzen in Further reading section below)
    • Man was still in matter of a fine unfashioned moving kind in times where animals were already present, he could have become everything.
    • Man was the last to descend out of the unformed into shape, into form. Man was still in matter of a fine unfashioned moving kind in times where animals were already present and had already earlier taken up the formative principle. Man did not prevail himself to descend in solid form, during old conditions, but waited until Earth had approximately the distribution of air and water as it now has. (1912-01-18-GA061)
  • there are sixteen groups of animals that gradually “precipitated out” of the spiritual world, just as there are sixteen groups of human instincts and passions. (1909-05-17-GA104A)
  • Certain of our current animals have their characteristics because in the Atlantean epoch, these were developed and trained into new species artificially, through cross-breeding (1904-09-03-GA091)
  • future
    • at the end of our Earth evolution certain animals will have developed karma, they will have reached the point where it will be possible to speak of guilt and atonement (1904-01-12-GA090A)
    • In a later epoch the animal group souls, not the single animals, will become human beings but quite differently constituted from the human being today (1907-03-16-GA097)

structural constitution and consciousness

  • animals have not been able to develop the I-principle, and are characterized by a horizontal rather than a vertical spine. This uprightness is a first characteristic of the Human 'I'-principle, see the faculties of the threefold soul of Walking Speaking Thinking (WST) that distinguish Man from animals.
    • "the astral body of the animal has no I within it in the physical world. The animal's I is a group I; it embraces a whole group and exists as group soul in the astral world" (1909-06-17-GA107)
    • difference in development potential
      • Man goes through a development in life, and acquires what the animal cannot acquire because its possibilities of development do not go beyond its inborn capacities, Man is constantly enriching his I, and reaches higher levels from one incarnation to another. (1909-06-17-GA107)
  • A whole series of animals draws too much out of the group soul, which remains in our evolution and works as the fourth class of elemental spirits called Salamanders. They are detached group souls of animals whose individual souls or "I-like beings" cannot return into the group soul, because they have carried their development beyond the normal point. (1908-05-16-GA102). See Elementals of nature.
  • the rate of procreation of animals varies greatly (eg between elephant, oyster, aphid, vorticellae) (1922-09-27-GA347)
  • In lower animals the astral body has not penetrated not yet entirely within their physical body, not to to the same extent as in the higher animals. They have more limited developments and die much sooner. (1909-06-17-GA107)
  • individual physical animals are Ahrimanic imaginations. For example "separate physical lion-forms are forced out of the group-souls by Ahriman" (1913-03-29-GA145)
  • faculties of perception
    • animals do not perceive the world the way Man does through his senses, because animals did not develop an I .. hence "people would be much astonished if they were shown how a horse, or a dog, or some other animal, pictures the world" (1910-12-19-GA124)
    • "animals are clairvoyant" (Daskalos, MoS)
    • "animals are prophetic by nature .. if a major earthquake occurs somewhere, for example, animals will leave the place beforehand" (1923-04-09-GA349)
    • "spiritual science makes a quite decisive distinction between the sounding animals and the non-sounding one": lower animals cannot directly express pain and pleasure through sound (eg insects produce noises but these are body noises), and even the highest animals have only one-sidedly developed sounds. Only in Man does the inner sound become word, speech. (1907-03-16-GA097) (see als Walking Speaking Thinking)
  • wisdom of the animal
    • limited in its development, 'instinctive' means part of the group soul, not of the individual physical animal
    • example of beaver and ants, they have advanced much further in certain capabilities, but with very one-sided development: "Animals are human beings which have remained stationary in the one-sided development of their characteristics." This is linked to the separation of faculties (such as Thinking Feeling Willing). For Man there is a 'loss of wisdom', so individuation comes at the price of 'loss of security' on the way to freedom
  • relation with human beings
    • "there was a time when animals and men lived in peace and harmony. If you genuinely love an animal, no matter what it is, you have nothing to fear from it. It is our hostility towards animals that causes them to attack us. (Daskalos in MoS)
    • interaction and communication with animals:
      • Daskalos could carry on conversations with animals (example given with snake). (Daskalos in MoS)
      • Saint Franciscus of Assisi (associated with patronage of animals) and his communication with animals and the environment, stories with birds, wolf, etc
    • certain people are known to have exceptional strong bonds with animals, this is or may be related to the elementals they carry with, see salamanders created from bonds with animals - re: elementals of nature. See also note on apes and salamanders below (1908-05-16-GA102), this may (hypothesis) also be the case with horses, and maybe cats and dogs (DL editor)

animal shapes and forms

  • animal shapes and forms as the physiognomical expression of human passions
    • a large part of our present higher animals consists of human beings who were so entangled in their passions that they became hardened in these forms and fell behind in evolution. In animals we see our own past, although these have not the same form as that in which they appeared in past ages, for millions of years have passed away since then, as over such long periods animal shapes were in a state of material self-metamorphosis (1908-08-11-GA105)
  • elementals have the forms of animals (eg in dreams, or as perceived clairvoyantly
    • people create astral elementals daily as part of their functioning with the Thinking feeling Willing faculties of the human 'I'. Elementals of desires-thoughts have shape, power and a life of their own. They can become snakes and bears and other animals. Such elementals come to you for example during sleep and frighten you. (Daskalos in MoS) "If you are a clairvoyant you can see these elementals coming out of people in the shape of animals like snakes of various sizes and colors, apes, bears, and so on" (Daskalos, HTS)
      • example of a man confessing his sins and there were snakes coming out of his mouth .. these are no fantasies .. a clairvoyant can literally see these snakes (Daskalos in MoS)
  • for an excellent coverage from a Goethean science perspective, see the work by Frits Julius (in ao 'Das Tier zwischen Mensch und Kosmos')

specific categories within the animal kingdom

  • ants and Bees - see 'Discussion' area below, note [1] - Group souls of Ants and Bees
  • butterflies (1923-10-08-GA351)
  • elephants (oa premonition of death explained) (1924-01-07-GA352)
  • apes
    • and salamanders [see elementals of nature]: "the apes brings 'too much' from the group soul down into its own individual existence .. the ape detaches and keeps something in the physical organization which cannot go back to the group soul. ... [hence] .. the ape has something which is similar to the human I .. this remains in our evolution and works as the fourth class of elemental spirits, the I-like salamanders" (1908-05-16-GA102)
  • horses
    • about horses that can count and calculate (1913-02-18-GA069E)
    • forming an animal and a corresponding mental human quality: the horse and intelligence.
      • Man owes the fact he has been able to acquire intelligence to the horse. Hence the devotion to the horse in ancient culture and legends (examples India, ancient germanic, Greece Troy, ..) (1908-06-21-GA104; also in 1906-10-13-GA097, 1905-04-03-GA089)
  • animal wisdom: beaver lodges and wasps' nests (1923-01-10-GA348)
  • birds and animals in the Lemurian epoch (1922-09-20-GA347), turtles and crocodiles (1923-09-20-GA347)

symbolism of animals and animal forms:

  • snake, fish, butterfly, bee and their relation to the elements: the snake as earth being, the fish as water being, the butterfly as air being, and the bee as warmth-being (1907-09-14-GA101)
  • animal forms as language of inspiration consciousness or clairvoyance (like plant for imagination, and human I for intuition): the dove for the Holy Spirit, lamb for Christ, Sphinx as examples of inspired imaginations in ancient clairvoyance (1922-07-28-GA214)
  • the horse as a symbol of intelligence (1908-06-24-GA104)

metamorphosis in the animal kingdom

  • example of caterpillar and butterfly
  • as researched by Goethe and picked up further by a.o. Lorenzen (1973) and Suchantke (1994) - see references below

Inspirational quotes

An image often used is that if you put your fingers through a piece of paper and move the individual fingers, they are still part of your hand behind the paper:


One common soul lives in the entire animal group. As your ten fingers are members of your hands, so are all wolves members of the wolf group soul. ... The soul of the animal is to be found on the astral plane, and is connected with each single member of its group by a thread.


.. the kind of I that Man has today is only to be found in Man, the human being living on the Earth .. has his I enclosed within himself. It is different with the animals: they have a group-I or group-soul: a group of animals with the same form have a common group-I. When the lion says ‘I’, its I is up above in the astral world. It is as if a Man were to stand behind a wall in which there were ten holes, and then to stick his ten fingers through them. The Man himself cannot be seen, but every intelligent observer would conclude that someone is behind, a single entity who owns the ten fingers. It is the same with the group-I. The separate animals are simply the limbs: the being they belong to is in the astral world.


Schema FMC00.210 shows the famous diagram by Hermann Poppelbaum of the evolution of physical nature's kingdoms (left, based on 1907-11-22-GA100, see Schema FMC00.210B) and finally the descent of Man and the appearance of physical mineral Man (right). See also FMC00.209.


Schema FMC00.210A shows another illustrated version of the Schema FMC00.210.


Schema FMC00.210B: shows a translated version of the original drawing by Rudolf Steiner in the lecture of 1907-11-22-GA100. This drawing and lecture has been misinterpreted outside of a spiritual scientific framework and understanding by groups and forces whose aim is to accuse anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner's teachings of racism. See 'Further reading' section on the Human races page for an extensive coverage of sources who correct these wrongful attacks.

For this reason specific details on the Scheme are added. The two blackboard sketches part of this lecture have been merged, and terminology has been adapted to contemporary language versus the terms used over 100 years ago in context of an audience who had another understanding of these words as part of a larger knowledge framework of human races. Specifically: the word 'epoch' has been added to the evolutionary periods; an explanation has been added in light grey for the 'monera'; the term 'Indianer' has been replaced with 'ancient American Indians' (not to be confused with native americans as we know them today, as here the remnant of the Saturn sub-race of the Atlantean epoch is meant - see Schema FMC00.186 and Schema FMC00.204); and the term 'dekadente Abzweigung' is translated by 'declining branch(ing)', as it branches off in a declining fashion relative to the main evolutionary pathway (see Schema FMC00.546).

shows a translated version of the original drawing by Rudolf Steiner in the lecture of 1907-11-22-GA100. This drawing and lecture has been misinterpreted outside of a spiritual scientific framework and understanding by groups and forces whose aim is to accuse anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner's teachings of racism. See 'Further reading' section on the Human races page for an extensive coverage of sources who correct these wrongful attacks. For this reason specific details on the Scheme are added. The two blackboard sketches part of this lecture have been merged, and terminology has been adapted to contemporary language versus the terms used over 100 years ago in context of an audience who had another understanding of these words as part of a larger knowledge framework of human races. Specifically: the word 'epoch' has been added to the evolutionary periods; an explanation has been added in light grey for the 'monera'; the term 'Indianer' has been replaced with 'ancient American Indians' (not to be confused with native americans as we know them today, as here the remnant of the Saturn sub-race of the Atlantean epoch is meant - see Schema FMC00.186 and Schema FMC00.204); and the term 'dekadente Abzweigung' is translated by 'declining branch(ing)', as it branches off in a declining fashion relative to the main evolutionary pathway (see Schema FMC00.546).

Schema FMC00.221 is a more recent version of Poppelbaum's diagram (FMC00.210) by Dankmar Bosse in 'The mutual evolution of Earth and humanity' (see references below). The evolution of the human vertebrate branch is shown schematically in counter-running evolutionary spirals. The outer thick arrows show the discontinuous sequence of finished forms, in opposite direction are thin arrows (center outwards) from soft-bodied conditions to hardening species. The dotted circle shows the boundary between soft-bodied and fossil-preserved forms.


Schema FMC00.221A shows the original of Schema FMC00.221 in German, for reference


Schema FMC00.518 illustrates the consciousness of the four kingdoms of nature at different planes of consciousness.

Only Man has individualized Human 'I' consciousness as he was and is in the process of detaching himself from the various granular levels of the group souls of humanity through the process of individuation and Development of the I.

In the animal kingdom, a collective of animals part of a certain species have their group soul on the astral plane, the working group of the animal group soul intelligence can be seen for example in flocks of birds and herds.

The plant kingdom has its group soul on the lower spirit plane. The astral body of the Earth forms the common astral body for the whole plant kingdom, the I of the plant is in the center of the Earth. The astral world does not penetrate the individual plant but merely touches it through the 'kiss of the Sun', which is the origin of the blossom causing the appearance of the flower.

The mineral kingdom is frozen and chaste and has the group soul in the higher spirit world.

Schema FMC00.149: gives a tabular synthesis showing the development of the Spectrum of elements and ethers and the development of our current Four kingdoms of nature as well as Man's developing Condition of Consciousness, see also Schema FMC00.583 on Man and nature's kingdoms in evolution

It shows how the plant and animal kingdoms evolved from the planetary stages of evolution: part of the development lagged behind and was not able to develop the next structural bodily principles, such as the astral on Old Moon, and the I on Earth.

gives a tabular synthesis showing the development of the Spectrum of elements and ethers and the development of our current Four kingdoms of nature as well as Man's developing Condition of Consciousness, see also Schema FMC00.583 on Man and nature's kingdoms in evolution It shows how the plant and animal kingdoms evolved from the planetary stages of evolution: part of the development lagged behind and was not able to develop the next structural bodily principles, such as the astral on Old Moon, and the I on Earth.

Schema FMC00.175A is a simplified variant of Schema FMC00.175 that summarizes the formative forces proceeding from The elementary kingdoms, all three active and interpenetrating all the time. They work together with the intelligence of the group soul from the different worlds.


Schema FMC00.147 provides an overview to contemplate how the kingdoms of nature on Earth originate in previous evolutionary stages.


Schema FMC00.142B is lifts out one aspect from Schema FMC00.142, graphically depicting the origin of nature's kingdoms as offsprings of the spiritual hierarchies in previous evolutionary stages.


Lecture coverage and references


edited machine translation, SWCC.

[discussing the Lemurian epoch] ... But then there are two genera of Lunar Pitris who had reached a fairly normal development, namely such that they were already able to form a kind of karma within themselves, a karma similar to that which will be the karma of our animals at the end of our earth evolution. Certain animals will have reached the point where it will be possible to speak of guilt and atonement. Our animals do not have this yet, but they will have it at the end of their development. The karmic principle was already present in some species. In other species it was only in the process of development, and in still others it was only present in a hint.


We must be clear about the fact, that as long as an animal remains an animal, Manas does not work in the animal world on the physical plane, but on a higher plane. Let us recall an animal: under the circumstances, it differs from Man through the fact that its Manas is not inside it, but remains on a higher plane; so that if we wish to imagine this more concretely, we would have to think of the animal as made of threads.

The intellect exists on a higher plane and works into the lower one. This is the case in Man's lower organs. A thigh, for example, is made in such an artistic way, that one could not have shaped it in a more ingenious way even with the most concise art of engineering.

To train the animal means that Manas can do nothing if the animal has no organ for it. If the brain cannot be used for counting, then Manas cannot count. If you prepare the animal's brain for counting, then you give Manas the opportunity to influence an animal from the higher plane down. Hence, only occultists and mysticists should undertake is. Otherwise, one may do something that would cause damage in the universe.

In the Atlantean epoch, the animals were developed and trained into new species artificially, through cross-breeding. Our animals now owe them their higher qualities. Thus, one must not wonder, that certain animals are Man's rivals in terms of their skills and abilities.


There also exist in astral space natural elemental beings. They proceed from the Group Souls of animals. For each animal group a being exists on the astral plane which unites what is present in the single animals. We meet these also in astral space. Every animal draws its own nature after it astrally like a trail. What is thus formed can however not work so harmfully as what the human being creates in the way of elemental beings. This astral trail is rendered harmless because it is annulled by the Group Souls of the animals.


How did the names of the zodiacal constellations originate?

The whole animal kingdom was once within Man; this means that he was at a stage between the human realm and the animal kingdom of today. In order to be able to develop further, he had to separate off from himself those parts which could not go with him. He separated the parts which form the animal kingdom of today.

Originally, therefore, the animals were much less sharply differentiated from Man than they now are. They have gradually degenerated.

The separating off of the animal kingdom did not occur suddenly, but by slow degrees.

  • First the fishes were separated,
  • then the reptiles and amphibians,
  • then the birds and the mammals.

And within each group the separating off was again gradual: thus the beasts of prey, for example were separated earlier than the apes.


  • when the lions were separated, the constellation in which the Sun then stood was called Lion, and
  • when the bull-nature was separated, the relevant constellation was called Bull.

The names of the four apocalyptic creatures in the Revelation of John — Eagle, Lion, Bull, Man — point in the same direction.

But the names of all the zodiacal constellations are not thereby explained.

The Moon in earlier times — before the Earth separated from it — consisted of soft plant-substance, like living peat or spinach-stuff, penetrated by a woody structure which has today hardened into rock. In this soft substance lived the Moon-plants, real plant-animals, halfway between the plants and the animals of the present time.

Then the Earth separated, bringing into being the four kingdoms of nature — minerals, plants, animals and men. Some of the plant-animals failed to transform themselves completely into present-day plants. The sponges arose in this way.


is on the Animal soul

[animals having or not having a soul]

Whoever thoughtfully regards animal life can only share this view with difficulty [of animals having or not having a soul]. We need merely to point out that many animals in our environment perform actions, and enter into relationships even among themselves, which are difficult to imagine without a soul.

One example is the faithfulness of the dog. We can only with difficulty give ourselves to the thought that nothing lives in its inner being analogous to what lives in man. If we consider certain performances, can we disregard a higher, spiritual activity?

Let us consider, for example, a beaver's dam. This so artistically constructed performance would denote for a man a great spiritual effort. A deep wisdom lies, for instance, in the way certain beams are adapted most exactly in the correct angle, to the fall of the water, and the prevailing conditions.

Consider the ants. In each ant heap, you meet something like a wise state order of human beings — indeed transcending that of modern Man. The ants are divided into three groups: workers, males, and females. It is demonstrable that the workers are very clever, the females more stupid, and the males very stupid. Everything in the structure is elaborately organized — the way they procure everything necessary for the building and for the rearing of the young, the way they lead their foraging expeditions, etc.

If all this within a human state needs a soul, then we cannot deny an ensouling to these creatures. People always satisfy themselves with “instinct,” but they never attempt to think about anything underlying this “instinct.”

[what animals can not do]

We must now also consider the other side, and not overlook the radical distinction between what Man performs with his soul, and the animal with its soul.

1/ As an example, we will start from a definite fact. Travelers have often noticed that if they kindled a fire because of the cold, after they left it the apes would come and warm themselves at it. They never observed, however, that an ape had fetched some wood, to keep the fire going. It cannot arrive at this combination, and that is eminently important. It can never, from its own spiritual powers, do anything new, such as stir up the fire, etc. If we want to make clear to ourselves the animal soul, we must start with this difference from the human soul.

2/ A further difference between the animal and human soul is that you can write a biography of each human soul, but not of the animal. That is very important. If you ask yourselves about your interests in different beings, you will find that you bring the same interest to an individual Man as in the case of the animals, to a whole group of similar ones. Think of a lion. You feel the same towards the lion-grandfather, father, son, grandson, etc., but this idea would appear to you nonsensical, if applied to human beings.

It says nothing when a dog owner perhaps maintains that he could write a biography of his dog. You could also write a biography of a pen, or the differences in the life of a pin and a needle. That is only an overdrawn distinction. Just as strongly as one whole animal species differs from another, does the single individual person differ from another.

One common soul lives in the entire animal group. As your ten fingers are members of your hands, so are all wolves members of the wolf group soul.

[humanity group soul evolution]

Now we must enter more exactly into the nature of the human soul, which formerly was not as individualized as it is today.

At one point of human evolution, man stood far closer to the group soul. Tacitus, one hundred years after Christ, gives us a picture of the different tribal groups. All members of a group then felt themselves belonging together, naturally with gradations, for everything in human evolution is in stages. All members of a group then looked alike. The markedly individual physiognomies are the sign of this freeing of the individual souls from the group soul. You still find today, among savages, more or less the same features.

We must hold fast to this fact, that the physiognomy coming to expression is the proof that the individuality works formatively on the body. This will be more and more marked among the further evolved human races. A time will come when the racial character entirely recedes.

If a soul incarnates, now in this, now in that nationality, then the national distinctions vanish, and each one will always only remember himself the more his individuality has worked itself out. Formerly, when marriage only took place within the tribe, the members held together like the fingers of the hand, one revenging the wrong done to another, as if it had happened to himself, etc. This cohesion disappeared more and more; the larger, and more general, the aggregation of human beings, all the more individual became the soul and character. A medley does not arise, but the more the distinctions fall away, the more does individuality arise.

[animal vs human group soul]

Now, in what way are the human group souls distinguished from the animal? For this we must go back far into the story of their origin.

There was a time in which Man did not yet live, as now, in his various bodily sheaths and spiritual germ of his being. I mean the Lemurian epoch. At that time the highest beings were a kind of human-animal, with physical, etheric, astral bodies, and the tendency to the I, but not yet the I itself, beings that were adapted to take up the divine germ. The soul which now lives in their inner being, had not yet left the bosom of the Godhead. It still lived in a soul-spiritual stratum.

Think of a vessel of water with 1000 drops, which pass over without separation into each other, thus forming a unity. Take 1000 tiny sponges, each one of which can absorb one drop, and immerse them. Then each will be filled with one drop. You must think similarly that the human sheaths absorb the divine germ; thereby they first become individual and independent.

Now imagine that in the beginning the soul did not take up its dwelling in each single one, but that one soul distributed itself as group soul among many. What today dwells in one, then inhabited a whole tribe. Here you must grasp a new concept. Such a group soul does not die.

The beautiful, significant side of death is a specific privilege of the individual human soul.

If one part of the group soul dies, then it immediately replaces it, like the tentacle you cut from a polypus. Thus the group soul, which does not descend to the physical plane, feels death as the loss of one member, and birth as the growing of a similar one. It has not the privilege of death. Only when a sense being says “It is I,” death begins to enter individual life. Man struggles for and attains his higher life through death. Unless death were overcome, he could not attain through it to higher life.

[human group soul]

The soul of the animal is to be found on the astral plane, and is connected with each single member of its group by a thread.

In order to understand how animal group souls arise, you must be clear what makes Man the physical being that he is.

When the divine germs descended, they found the bearers very different. Many were especially developed for conflict; others were similarly formed but more developed for work, for patience, etc., so that the various bodies differed greatly in development even in external form. What today exist as lower animals, as insects, etc., had already branched off during a former incarnation of the Earth, and originated by themselves.

We are now concerned only with animals from the fishes upwards. When that descent occurred into the waiting bodies, which outwardly (not inwardly) stood approximately at the stage of the fish body, there were no mammals yet existing.

The human being who lived then had to move forward half swimming, half floating, and for this purpose had fin-like organs. That which took place in his body on Earth, took place through the indwelling human soul. Only in the course of a long evolution was this body transformed to the present god-like body.

Many things remained stationary on this long path. Since, however, the Earth was meantime transformed, this standing still caused a decline in the development of the bodies. Take two brothers — the one is transformed through the different ages of life, the other remains stationary at the childhood stage. At the age of 60, however, he no longer looks like a child. Thus the present fishes have come down and look different from how they looked formerly.

Humanity developed further, and fashioned everything to the mammalian body. Everywhere, again, are those who remain stationary — decadent human beings.

If you really grasp aright, you will understand that all animals have aged at the youth stage, have aged too early, have adopted fixed forms which they should have gone beyond. They have, as it were, crystallized in their whole evolution.

The upward development, indeed, now brought Man into a peculiar position, with reference to certain characteristics. He lost security.

  • Monkeys in captivity soon end through tuberculosis and other illnesses. Animals cannot stand the human way of life. Even as regards nourishment, they have a certain security. If a cow goes over a meadow, she knows exactly what plants are good for her.
  • Man has that no more. He needs insecurity in order to come to freedom of choice. The present insecurity is necessary to reach security at a higher stage. Man adapts himself to higher stages. Thus his becoming insecure is the guarantee that he becomes independent. To have remained secure denotes something that has not advanced to the point where the I can work in the individual being.

[animal wisdom]

We should wonder as little about animal wisdom as about the wisdom of our own hand.

The single beaver is merely the handyman of the group soul on the astral plane.

The ant stands at quite a different stage from the beaver, and much further from us, because it already separated off at a much earlier planetary condition of the earth. In its one-sided development it has advanced much further than man.

[separation of TFW faculties]

Man thinks, feels, wills, in fixed connection. If I see something which pleases me I grasp at it; the idea evokes the will. Without this interaction man would be very insecure. With the Chela, will, idea, and feeling are torn asunder, and must be quite separate. For general humanity that will first be attained at the Future Jupiter stage of the Earth. But before he experiences this, the Guardian of the Threshold meets him, and gives him clarity about the whole of his previous life.

This falling apart into threefoldness has been gone through prematurely by certain animal group souls. As a matter of fact, individual parts in the brain of the Chela are differentiated like the ants in the ant hill.

The ant has undertaken that prematurely and now remains like an unripe, clever child. The beaver group soul will have to make up for what it has missed; the ant soul has lost it once and for all, and goes quite other paths.

The animal souls are human souls that have become one-sided. Oken says: “The tongue is an ink fish.” Naturally, that is not to be taken literally. The being, however, in which the characteristics of the tongue have become too prominent, remains stationary at that point. Paracelsus uttered the profound words:

If we survey nature we simply see separate letters and the word they form is the human being. Imagine all the different qualities which you find together in man, allocated to different bodies, then you need a group soul.

Animals are human beings which have remained stationary in the one-sided development of their characteristics.

Man became a discoverer through the loss of security. The first element which he learned to put to his service was fire. Therewith he reached the first stage of civilization which made him a productive being. He is an encyclopedia of the different animal souls.

Now you must still be clear on one point. If you go to the lower animals, you will find that they cannot directly express pain and pleasure through sound. The insects, indeed, produce noises, but they are body noises. Occult science here makes a quite decisive distinction between the sounding animals and the non-sounding ones.

But, first, in man, does the inner sound become word, speech. Even the highest animals have only one-sidedly developed sounds.

In a later epoch the animal group souls, not the single animals, will become human beings but quite differently constituted from the man today. Even before Theosophy, Goethe felt this and expressed it wonderfully in his “Metamorphosis of Animals”; that they (animals) are like a man laid asunder, that the entire animal kingdom looks out from out of the human form.

Thus man says to all animal beings (speaking of himself), “All this, comprised in one, art thou!”


on The Elementary Kingdoms

..the group-souls of the animals reside on the astral plane, but there is another species of Egos, dwelling upon the astral plane, which work upon the human being and vitalize his blood, when the I of man has abandoned it. ...

.. The Beings of the third Elementary Kingdom have a warmth body on the astral plane. During the night, they permeates the blood of Man with warmth. They are the companions of the Group souls of the animals — they belong to the same region.

In our astral body, in addition to our I, live spiritual beings whose I dwells upon the astral plane. These Beings permeates the astral body just as maggots live in cheese. This is the third Elementary Kingdom: it is the kingdom which forms impulses and passions of an animal nature [in us].

The animals received their shape, or form — a form determined by instincts and desires — from the Beings belonging to the third Elementary Kingdom.

And the animal is endowed with instincts, etc., owing to the added activity of the third Elementary Kingdom.


.. animals have body and soul, they are connected with their so-called 'group I', and this is itself of a spiritual nature. In the single animal standing before us in the physical world we have indeed a being possessing only body and soul, but it is continued, as it were, towards the higher worlds and linked to spirituality. I have often used a certain comparison in respect of the animal group I: if there were a partition here and I stretched my fingers through it without your seeing me, but only the ten fingers, you would yet say that the fingers must come from someone who is invisible to you. It is just the same with the group Is; they are invisible and concealed for physical perception, but they exist nevertheless. The animal belongs to a group and the various animal groups are connected with the group Is above. It is therefore only when we refer to the single animal here on the physical plane that we can say animals have body and soul. What we see has a continuation into the astral.

[on Salamanders]

Salamanders are a fourth kind of nature spirit. The Gnomes, Sylphs, Undines, are beings which have remained behind. But the Salamanders in a certain way are human, since they have partially developed the fourth principle. They are not advanced enough, however, to be able to assume human shape.

Where does this fourth species come from?

You know that when we trace man back in his evolution we come to more and more spiritual forms. Man has progressed little by little to physical existence. We know that the different animal species have been gradually ejected, so to speak, as the retarded brethren of the advancing human evolution. Man attained such advanced development by being the last of all to take a physical form. The other animal creatures are at a backward stage because they were not able to wait, because they pressed into the earthly organs and physical organization earlier. But the animals have group souls which work into the physical world though they exist only on the astral plane. We see the wisdom given by the Moon to our evolution most. comprehensively developed in the animal kingdom by the group souls. Man creates his civilization through wisdom, but he must not ascribe wisdom to himself. Any human wisdom is not merely in man, but is present in a far more comprehensive way in our whole earth planet. One who sets great store by mankind may say: “What strides humanity has made in wisdom! The recent inventions for instance are a witness to it.” And now think of your school days and the principal discoveries that were told us then. Perhaps you will also remember the discovery of paper. Human wisdom got to the stage of inventing paper. It was certainly an achievement of human wisdom. But the wasp knew it much earlier still! You all know wasps' nests. They are made of the same substance as the paper made by man. We could go through all nature and we should find ruling wisdom everywhere. How much earlier than man the wasp spirit discovered paper! The individual wasp does not do it, it is the group I.

So we see that what constitutes human wisdom is interwoven and impressed into the whole earth. But the relation of the animal to its group soul is only up to a certain point what it actually ought to be from the cosmic standpoint. What is this relation of the group soul to the single animal? Take perhaps the group soul of an insect species. When the single insect dies it is exactly the same for the group soul as when you lose a hair and an-other grows. The animal forms that come into being are only fresh creations of the group soul. You can follow up the animal ranks for a long way and everywhere you will find that what is on the physical plane has just the same action as a cloud dissolving and reforming. The group spirit is metamorphosed and its physical members merely renew themselves. That happens however only up to a certain stage, after which something else takes place in the animal kingdom. This is very important just when you come to the so called higher animals. Precisely there something occurs which no longer seems quite to fit in with what I have been describing.

Let us take as a marked case the apes. The ape, for instance, brings too much from the group soul down into its own individual existence. Whereas in the relatively lower animal the whole physical form goes back into the group soul, the ape keeps something in the physical organization which cannot go back. What the ape detaches from the group spirit can no longer return. So too in the case of man, you have the I which goes from incarnation to incarnation and is capable through development of reaching our different stages. Here too there is no possibility of returning into the group spirit. The ape has something which is similar to the human I.

A whole series of animals draws too much out of the group soul, others again draw something out in another way. And this remains in our evolution and works as the fourth class of elemental spirits. They are detached group souls of animals whose individual souls cannot return into the group soul, because they have carried their development beyond the normal point. From countless animals such I-like beings remain behind. They are called Salamanders. That is the highest form, for they are I-like


As humankind has set the animal forms out of itself during the former evolutionary stages and thus acquired qualities of soul and spirit, it will set out those who have not grasped the spiritual impulse as a kind of a new physical realm after the War of All against All. That is the evil race. Example of the connection of forming an animal and a corresponding mental human quality: the horse and intelligence.

The devotion of the horse is connected with it in ancient cultures. See also in 1906-10-13-GA097, 1905-04-03-GA089

Now the whole of our fifth epoch of human evolution (including the various stages of civilization from the ancient Indian to our own), really exists in order to develop intelligence and reason and all that belongs to them. Nothing of this existed in the Atlantean epoch. Memory was present and also other qualities, but to develop the intelligence and what pertains to it — the turning of the attention to the outer world — is the task of the fifth epoch. If we direct our spiritual vision to the surrounding world and inquire, To what do we owe the fact that we have become intelligent; what animal form have we put forth from ourselves in order to become intelligent?” curious and grotesque as it may appear, it is nevertheless true to say that if there were not around us the animals which belong to the horse nature, Man would never have been able to acquire intelligence.

In former times men were aware of this. All the intimate relations existing between certain races of men and the horse originate from a feeling which may be compared with the mysterious feeling of love between the two sexes, from a certain feeling of what one owes to this animal.


  • Hence when the new civilization arose in the ancient Indian age, it was a horse that played a mysterious role in religious ceremonial, in the worship of the gods. And all customs connected with the horse may be traced back to this fact.
  • If you observe the customs of ancient peoples who were still clairvoyant such as, for instance, the old Germans, and notice how they placed horse-skulls in front of their houses, this leads you back to the fact that these people were aware that Man has grown beyond the unintelligent condition by separating out this form. There was a profound consciousness that the acquisition of cleverness is connected with it.
  • You need only remember the Odyssey and the wooden horse of Troy. Such legends contain deep wisdom, much deeper than our science contains.

Not without reason is such a type as the horse employed in legend. Man has grown out of a form which once contained within it that which is now embodied in the horse; and in the form of the centaur, art still represented Man as connected with this animal in order to remind him of the stage of development out of which he had grown, from which he had struggled free in order to become the present human being.

[Sixth epoch outlook]

What thus took place in bygone times in order to lead to present humanity will be repeated at a higher stage in the future. It is not the case, however, that this would in the future have to run its course in the physical world. Those who become clairvoyant at the boundary between the astral and the spirit worlds can see how Man continually purifies and develops that which he owes to the separation from the horse nature. He will accomplish the spiritualizing of the intelligence.

After the great War of All against All he will elevate to wisdom, to spirituality, that which today is merely reason, merely cleverness. This will be experienced by those who then will have reached the goal.

The fruits of that which was able to develop in humanity in consequence of the separation of the horse nature will be manifested


covers 'Animal forms as the physiognomical expression of human passions'

[animal forms and shapes]

There were at this time very few of the higher kinds of animals; the Earth was peopled by the lower animals and man. And if one were companionable — and such indeed we all were fundamentally — one could find one's fellowman through the expression they gave to this or that thought, or to this or that passion.

What really are all such expressions? What are the physiognomical expressions of passions and thoughts?

They are the shapes of animals. When we observe the form of animals we see in the higher orders of the animal kingdom nothing but thoughts and passions of all sorts worked into a great piece of tapestry. Everything that moves within the human astral body today, and remains hidden, was such a strong force at that time that it imparted at once to the soft body (which was really only formed out of fire-mist) the shape which was the expression of that passion. A large part of our present higher animals consists of human beings who were so entangled in their passions that they became hardened in these forms and fell behind in evolution.

Anyone who looks with really occult perception on his environment can express his feeling approximately as follows: In the course of becoming an I, I have passed through that which I now see in lions and snakes; I lived in all these forms, for in my inner being I experienced the qualities which are expressed in these animal shapes.

Those human beings who were capable of rising, who maintained their inner centre, found a certain balance, so that they have within them only the possibility of these passions, which are, however, of a soul nature only, and take on no external form. This is what Man's higher development means. In animals we see our own past, although these have not the same form as that in which they appeared in past ages, for millions of years have passed away since then. Let us suppose that passions such as are now found in lions were made manifest at that time in Man's outward form, giving him the semblance of a lion, that this form then hardened, and the genus lion originated. Since that time, however, the genus lion has also passed through further development, and because of this the present lion has no longer the same form as at that time. The present lion is the descendant of a genus that branched off from the human long ages ago. In the various animals we have, in a certain sense, to see our degenerate descendants; this should help us to look with understanding into the world around us.

We must not, however, imagine that all the animal forms we see around us, and which represent certain conditions of hardening, are the result of evil human passions. Passions were necessary; Man had to experience them in order that he might absorb from them into his own nature all that was useful; so that when we look back into such periods of the Earth's evolution we find in our environment animal shapes that are in a state of material self-metamorphosis.

These are the expressions of passions, and working in them we find those spiritual beings with whom we have become acquainted in previous lectures. We have to think of the earth as being still of a soft substance, and spiritual beings working upon this substance, and forming the various animal-like shapes.


It was also necessary for the beings on the earth to pass through their stages of evolution at very different times. If a portion of humanity in the early stages of the Atlantean epoch had not wanted to descend into a 'densified' physical body, then the human form would have remained as it was - with all the instincts, desires, and passions still expressed in the physical form. However, there were beings that became solid, hardened at that time. Animals are nothing more than beings that entered into a hardened, dense condition too early. What the human being carries in the astral body today in terms of desires and passions has come to expression in the physical body of the various animals. Each of the groups of animals developed a particular instinct, and is “congealed” or solidified in it. During the Lemurian age it was the mammals; they are human passions that have congealed into a rigid form. What we carry within ourselves presents itself as a picture in the various animals. With human beings, the instincts have been gradually refined and we can hide them in our heart. The lowest instincts of the human being were first to fall into the physical world during eruptions of natural forces in the earlier times of Lemuria. The apes represent, so to speak, the last lower instincts to fall or be pushed into physical matter before the soul of the human being was itself hardened in matter.

With some animals, horses for example, we still find today as a peculiarity the etheric body of the head extending beyond the physical head. That was the case with Atlantean human beings. A certain point in the human etheric body moved into the corresponding part of the physical body only in the last third of the Atlantean age. Only then were human beings able to develop a physical form appropriate for the spirit.

There are sixteen groups of human instincts and passions and so too, are there sixteen groups of animals. Zoology will one day understand how these sixteen groups were gradually “precipitated out” of the spiritual world. We can easily say how the various parts of the mammal groups were created. The formation of hoofs, for example, occurred when, in a very special way, animal nature closed off from the outer world. Claws were created through aggression. The hoofed animals express a very different stage of evolution than animals with claws. We see just such a contradiction expressed in the forms of the centaur and the sphinx.


Consider, in a purely external way to begin with, the difference between the evolution of the animal and that of Man.

You need only say one word and hold one idea before you, and you will soon notice the difference between the concept of animal and human evolution. Think of the word ‘education’. Actual education is impossible in the animal world. To a certain extent you can train the animal to do things that are foreign to its natural instincts and inborn way of life. But only an extremely enthusiastic dog-lover would want to deny that there is a radical difference between the education of a human being and what can be undertaken with animals. We need merely bear one particular anthroposophical insight in mind, and we shall understand the basis for this apparently superficial fact. [cont'd]


Now let us consider the gradual development of the human being and compare it with that of the plant. We know that the plant only has its physical and etheric body here in the physical world, whereas its astral body is outside it; but only the physical and etheric body within it. The plant emerges from the seed, forms its physical body, and then the etheric body gradually develops. And this etheric body is all that the plant has in addition. Now we have seen that man's etheric body is still enveloped in the astral body until puberty, and that man's astral body is not actually born until then. But the plant, after reaching its puberty, cannot give birth to an astral body, for it has none. Therefore the plant has nothing further to develop after puberty. It has accomplished its task in the physical world when puberty occurs, and after it has been fertilised, it withers.

You can even observe something similar in certain lower animals. In these lower animals the astral body has quite evidently not penetrated into the physical body to the same extent as in the higher animals.

Lower animals are characterised by the very fact that their astral body is not yet entirely within their physical body.

Take the may-fly; it comes into being, lives until it is fertilised, and then dies. Why? Because it is a creature which, like a plant, has its astral body for the most part outside it, and therefore it has nothing further to develop when puberty has occurred. In a certain respect man, animal and plant develop in a similar way until puberty. Then the plant has nothing else to develop in the physical world, and so it dies.

The animal still has an astral body, but no I. Therefore after puberty certain possibilities of development remain in the animal. The astral body becomes free, and as long as it develops freely and possibilities of development remain, further development continues in the higher animal after puberty.

But the astral body of the animal has no I within it in the physical world. The animal's I is a group I; it embraces a whole group and exists as group soul in the astral world, where its possibilities of development are quite different from those of the single animal here in the physical world.

What the animal possesses as astral body has a limited possibility of development, and the animal already has this possibility within it as a natural tendency when it comes into the world. The lion has something in his astral body that expresses itself as a sum of impulses, instincts and passions. And this tendency continues to live itself out to the full until an I might be born; but the I is not there, it is on the astral plane.

Therefore when the animal has just reached the stage when Man attains his twenty-first year, its possibilities of development are all used up. The length of life varies according to circumstances, of course, for animals do not all live to be twenty-one. But up to the age of twenty-one, when the I is born in Man, his development is comparable to that of the animal.

This must not lead to the conclusion that human development up to the age of twenty-one is identical to that of an animal, for that is not the case. The I is already within the human being from the beginning, right from conception, and it now becomes free. Hence, because there is something within Man from the beginning that becomes free at the age of twenty-one, he is from the outset no animal being, for the I, although not free, is nevertheless working in him from the start. And it is essentially this I that can be educated. For it is this ego, together with what it has accomplished in the astral, etheric and physical bodies, that passes from one incarnation to another. If this ego received nothing new in a further incarnation, man would not be able to take anything with him at his physical death, from his last life between birth and death. And if he were not able to take anything with him, he would be at exactly the same stage in the following life as he was in the previous one. Through the fact that you see man going through a development in life, and acquiring what the animal cannot acquire, because the animal's possibilities of development do not go beyond its inborn capacities, Man is constantly enriching his I, and reaches higher levels from one incarnation to another. It is because Man bears within him an I that has already been at work, although it only becomes free at his twenty-first year, that education is practicable, and something further can be done with him beyond his original possibilities. The lion brings its lion nature with it and lives it out. Man not only brings with him his nature as a member of the general human species, but also what he has attained as an I in his previous incarnation. This can be transformed more and more by education and life, and it will have acquired new impetus by the time man passes through the portal of death and has to prepare for a new incarnation. The point is that man acquires new factors of development and is constantly adding to his store.


If we make a rapid survey of human life and visualise Man's development through Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon as far as our Earth evolution, we find that on Old Saturn there could be no question of Man being able to relate to things in this way. Everything was pure necessity then. It was the same on Old Sun and also on Old Moon, and the animals are still in the situation today that Man was in on Old Moon. The animal experiences only what is determined by preceding causes.

Man alone has entirely new experiences, independent of previous causes. Therefore in the truest sense of the word man alone is capable of education; man alone can continually add something new to what is determined by karma. Only on Earth did Man attain the possibility of adding something new. On Old Moon his development had not reached the point where he would have been capable of adding anything new to his innate capacities. Although not an animal, he was then at the stage of animal development. His actions were determined by external causes. To a certain extent this is still so today, for those experiences that are free experiences are only slowly making their way into man. And they appear to a greater and greater extent the higher the level at which Man is.

Imagine a dog standing in front of a Raphael painting. It would see what is there in the picture itself, in so far as it is a sense object. But if a man were to stand in front of the picture, he would see something quite different in it; he would see what he is capable of creating through the fact that he has already developed further in previous incarnations. And now imagine a genius like Goethe; he would see even more, and he would know the significance of why one thing is painted like this and the other like that. The more highly developed a man is the more he sees. And the more he has enriched his soul the greater his capacity to add to it the soul experiences from soul relationships. These become the property of his soul and are stored up within it. All this, however, has only been possible for humanity since Earth evolution began.


The animal kingdom could never have developed alongside the human kingdom today if certain beings had not remained behind at the end of the Old Saturn stage in order, while mankind on Old Sun was already developing a level higher, to form a second kingdom and come forward as the first ancestors of our present animal kingdom.

Thus this remaining behind was absolutely necessary as a base for later formations.

Now a comparison may explain why beings and substances had to remain behind. The development of man had to progress by degrees, and it could only do this in the same degree to which man refined himself. Had he always worked with the same forces with which he had worked during the Old Saturn stage, he would not have progressed, but would have remained behind. For this reason he had to refine his forces.

  • As an illustration, let us suppose we have a glass of water in which some substance is dissolved. Everything in this glass from top to bottom will be of the same colour, the same density, etc. Now let us suppose that the grosser substances settle to the bottom; then the purer water and the finer substances remain above. The water could only be refined by separation of the grosser parts.

Something like this was also necessary after the Old Saturn evolution had run its course, so that such a sediment appeared, and the whole of humanity separated from something, retaining all the finer parts. That which was left formed later the animal kingdom. By means of this separation man was able to refine himself, and rise a stage higher. At each step certain beings have to be separated, in order that man may rise higher and higher.

Thus we have a humanity which has only become possible through man's freeing himself from the beings which live around him in the lower kingdoms. At one time we were bound up with these beings, with all their forces, in the stress of evolution like the denser constituents in the water. We have uplifted ourselves from them and in this way our development has been made possible.

Thus we look down upon the three kingdoms of nature around us, and see in them something which had to become a basis for our development. These beings have sunk in order that we might be able to rise. In this manner we look upon the subordinate kingdoms of nature from the proper aspect.


If you have followed different lectures given by me on spiritual science and have read my “Outline of Occult Science” you will realise that at one period of the Earth's development the Earth was united with the sun, that these formed one globe; the Earth only separated from the sun later.

If you remember all you have heard or read you must allow that the animal and plant forms found on the Earth today are the further development of those that existed at the time when the Earth and sun were one. But just as the animal forms of today are suited to the present conditions of the Earth, so the animal forms of that far off time must have been suited to the planetary body which was then both sun and Earth. It follows from this that the animal forms that have remained over from these times have not only remained over, but are the continuation of creatures that existed formerly.

There are, for example, animals that still have no eyes, for eyes only have meaning when there is light, such light as streams to Earth from the sun when it is outside. Thus among the various creatures of the animal kingdom we find those that have formed eyes after the sun separated from the Earth, and also those that are relics of the time when the Earth was still united with the sun — that is animals without eyes. Such animals would naturally belong to the lowest types, and so they do.

We find it stated in popular books that the possession of eyes began at a certain stage of development. This bears out what spiritual science tells us.


The physical body of Man functions as an organism in the mineral-physical world and this is the sense in which it is always spoken of in spiritual science. What we know of the world today is nothing but the result of what the senses perceive, and such perception is only possible in an organism in which there is an ‘I’.

The superficial methods of observation now in vogue presume that an animal, for example, perceives the external world exactly as Man perceives it through his senses. But this is a misguided view and people would be much astonished if — as will inevitably happen one day — they were shown how a horse, or a dog, or some other animal, pictures the world.

If a picture were painted of the environment as perceived by a dog or a horse it would be very different from a Man's picture of the world. We could not perceive the world as we do if the ‘I’ did not pour itself over the surrounding world, filling the sense-organs — the eyes, the ears, and so on. Only an organism in which an ‘I’ is present can perceive the world as Man perceives it, and the outer human organism is itself an integral part of this picture. We must therefore conclude that what is usually called the physical body of man is only a result of our sense-observation, not the reality.


title: 'The origin of the animal world in the light of spiritual science'

[sketch early Earth]

Now we must imagine life on Earth in such a way that in the course of time, by means of the formative principle, the living and the lifeless are kept separated in various ways. We must imagine that materials which today are fallen from the heights and are connected with the firm body of the Earth, were in a medium earth period still dissolved (diluted), were present in the Earth atmosphere as mist. We can absolutely speak about such an Earth's age in which such an air veil, as it is today, was non-existent — and we must speak about mists and gasses, which nowadays have been consolidated and united with the Earth for a long time. We must imagine the entire distribution of water and air in a middle Earth period, in an entirely different way. We must imagine that the formative principle — which we should think of as purely spiritual — by working living substance into the lifeless, formed, matter, had to take from that latter the conditions for breathing, etc. Thus the formative principle had to create in this way the most varied forms adapted to the old Earth conditions, which now do not exist at all. However, spiritual science now shows that the development progressed in such a way that, in those times, only a part of the living substance, as it were, was really formed and that, when the unformed matter was seized upon immediately by the spiritual principle, a part of the old, moving unformed, living substance was held back. In older times, when the Earth was surrounded in quite a different way by layers of matter, which today as it is fall down because of compression, or are present in the inside of the Earth in liquid form and literally lead a liquid life — that the formative principle was working, as it were, by crystallizing, into the living, forms which in today's conditions cannot exist any longer. Let us look at such a state, in which our Earth did not have at all the planetary shape that it has today. At this time quite obviously other, different forms of living beings must originate, living beings which were adapted to the old conditions, and which nowadays could no longer exist. Now that may easily be accounted for, explained by the fact that many of these life forms had to die out entirely when the Earth changed its formation.

  • We find (which is geologically demonstrable and shown by paleontology) that animals have lived which, we have to imagine, were only adjusted, let us say to water, only coming to its present form, but still permeated with quite different substances, and we find other animals, as the saurian species, etc. To be brief: we can meet manifold animal species (forms) which were adapted to the conditions then.

Aside from these, other forms originated which were adjusted to the conditions, so to speak, in such a way that they really could no longer be shaped out of the unformed, moving matter by the original formative principle, but which were able to transform themselves through successive generations, and to themselves improve by means of heredity in such a way that they developed the later forms out of the older ones. The new ones were then adapted to the new Earth conditions. While those forms which in olden times were so strongly penetrated by the formative principle that they could not be reshaped had to die out, those organizations which had remained more movable in themselves, in which the living was not yet fashioned so strongly, could remodel themselves and thus develop themselves further on in successive generations.

With regard to Man, development shows itself as follows: In olden times we cannot see him in such forms which can be seen with outer external eyes, but we find him in matter of such a fine, unfashioned moving kind, that in times where animals were already present, he could have become everything. Man was the last to descend out of the unformed into shape, into form. Whereas the animals, which are today on Earth, had already earlier taken up the formative principle so that they had to reshape their earlier figure in adapting to the transformation of the Earth, Man did not prevail himself to descend in solid form, during old conditions, but waited until Earth had approximately the distribution of air and water as it now has.

As late as then a condensation of the scarcely-shaped matter into the human figure took place for man. Because man entered out of the unformed and into shaped form so late, he appeared so that he is therefore adapted not only to certain specific earth conditions, but to the whole earth. Going back to the animals, however, we must imagine their origin in such a way that determined forms had adapted themselves to quite determined territories of the earth. These animals then got the form, which by no means is still similar to today's offspring, but which was adapted to conditions then. But because they were adapted only to territorial conditions which in certain regions changed quickly, they could develop only in determined limits. But at the time when earth was liable to quick changes, man had not entered into a form, but only later, when it was possible to put formation into his bodily nature over the whole surface of the earth in such a way that he, as man, was adapted to the earth as a whole. Thus man could populate earth as a being which is adapted least of all to external conditions, and most of all to internal motive powers. Man was, from the outset, thus adapted to the formative powers in such a manner that his inner being corresponded with the spiritual, that the formative powers could work immediately in the soul, making his outer physical form an upright one, making his hands as living tools for the spirit, and his larynx a living instrument for the spirit. But all this could only happen when earth had passed through certain principles of formation (Gestaltungsprinzipien). Thus man had to be adapted no longer immediately to external life, but to that which determined out of his inner being, what was his figure and presentation in life (Sich-Darleben) — so that with man, the formative principle determines his figure indirectly through the spiritual, while with the animal the formative principle had to work much more into the lifeless and inorganic. We can today still perceive in animals how they have connected their entire soul life more closely with their bodily nature, whereas man is able to develop a soul life which can lift itself up beyond the life of the body.

Let us look at the animal, how its soul life is plunged entirely into the bodily life, as it is formed, how the delight of digestion impregnates the body, how the soul life immediately penetrates the body and shows itself connected with its bodily functions. If we compare the way in which man's soul life lifts itself up beyond the bodily nature as something independent, we will see then that man is fashioned as he is because the animal world, adapted to other conditions of our earthly being, is fashioned out of the unformed earlier than man is. In man, such a soul being independent of the bodily life could become active only because man is able, within his being of soul, to keep the formative principle when he passes through the gate of death, and discards, to begin with, his bodily life. Because the formative principle has seized the animal's soul so much earlier that an intense connection with the bodily life was produced and because the animal thereby had to be entirely absorbed by its bodily life — for this reason that which is experienced in the single animal does not get detached (free) from the bodily life. With man, it gets free; it also keeps a formative principle, aside from the organic, physical substance; it can form a new bodily life again after the time between death and a new birth. Only because being seized immediately by the formative principle, can man's spiritual-soul being have that independence which enables him to go from life to life, which enables him to pass his being in repeated lives. On the other hand, we see that the intense connection with the form of being which had to be produced in animal between alternative principles and living matter, brought it about that the formative principle, when the animal dies, is exhausted in the organic, and that animal's soul falls back again into a general, animal soul-life and continues, not individually, but in a general, animal-like way, in a living on of the animal's group soul, not of a single animal soul.

Thus we see that we have to seek the origin of the animal (like) in the fact that that which penetrates into man later and permeates him in a later state, penetrates into the animal earlier. The animal is, as it were, left behind by the continuous principle of development; it is a backward being compared with man, who is an advanced being. We can easily imagine how this formation came to pass through a simple comparison, if we picture to ourselves a liquid in a glass, in which a substance is dissolved in such a manner that we cannot distinguish it from the liquid. If we let this solution stand, then a sediment deposits itself and the finer liquid remains. In this way we have then to imagine the whole progress of earth evolution as the duality of the spiritual forming principle and the living substance below. And in the spiritual principle the formative principle for man is contained likewise. But for man the formlessness in this living substance remains the longest. For the animal, the shaping happens earlier so that in a time when man has, as it were, preserved himself still above in an unformed, thinner, finer substance, the animal being below is already consolidated and lives on in such a way that below it can only get at more and more rigid forms, which change in the course of time. Over against this man, relating to the form, can be traced back only to that which is originally in a formless living, but into which the spirit works as a motive principle and brings it gradually to the present figure. Progressing further on, we also have to imagine the animal forms such that they are not produced from a single animal form; but while here and there certain animals formed themselves, others remained behind that formed themselves later; others again descended still later, etc. And then man descended latest.

It is remarkable (peculiar) that that which now has been said is entirely explained in such books as for instance those by Haeckel if we read them in the correct way. Indeed, it is stated that in his external appearance man is to be traced back to the animal. But if we continue the scale (trace back the scale to its source) we see that man at last is to be traced back to something which cannot refer to the present earthly conditions, but to imaginary living beings. And just so with animals — we find those beings to which Spiritual Science points out as hypothetical beings — also in Haeckel's pedigree — only these trace back not to something formed, but to something formless. It is now not possible to argue this further, but it results from my Occult Science that that which presents itself now as earth has developed downward from earlier spiritual stages. That results in one not being able to say at all that Spiritual Science invents again, after all, only something unknown. No! At last the earth is traced back to earlier planetary stages of being, just as man, relating to his present life is traced back to earlier lives. And going back to earlier stages we find as the starting point of all life and of all matter, not only a living entity, but also a spiritual one. We recognize as the starting point of all life the spirit, which we experience in us ourselves. Thus we trace back foundations to the spirit, which is something we have in ourselves, that means to something known, that is in ourselves, while external science traces itself back to something unknown. Spiritual Science is in another, different position as is the present hypothetical doctrine of evolution. Spiritual Science traces evolution back not to something unknown, but to something which has been there, been present, as spiritual, and that also today can be experienced as spiritual. Only the spiritual living in us discloses itself in the same manner as it does in our glass; the thinner liquid is segregated from the more solid substance. The finer spiritual in man even disclosed itself as separated, secluded, just like the finer substance in the glass is segregated from the more solid one, which has been deposited.

Thus we must trace back the animal world to the fact that man, in order to cultivate his spiritual nature as he has it today, had to begin with to separate from the whole animal world, so that he could develop himself as a finer spiritual being, above the basis of the animal world, just as in our comparison, the finer substance reveals itself when it has separated out the more solid substance below, on the bottom. Today these events can be pointed out only inasmuch as they demonstrate the origin of the animal world. It must be left for another lecture to explain in detail how the spiritual and soul nature (Seelische) developed later. Still it must be mentioned that the facts of immediate sense perception do not at all contradict this principle, and that it will arrive at the knowledge that progress really could not be otherwise than that set forth today — because do animals present themselves to us so that we need to speak about a special spirituality, only present in man? On the contrary! It will reveal itself to closer observation that there is sometimes much more intelligence among the animal world, and that man must first gain his intelligence, and that perhaps man's priority to an animal exists in the fact that he can achieve his little intelligence. Everywhere we look into the animal world — with the structure of the beaver's dam, of the insects, with the wasps, etc., we see intelligence at work, spirit holding sway, which makes use of the animals. We cannot say that this intelligence is in the single animal. We only need to refer to how certain insects take care of their offspring — there we see that we have a super-sensible intelligence, ruling the species of animals, objective for the animal world, like matter itself is objective for the animal world. This we can perceive when the insect deposits its eggs so that the larva must live in quite different circumstances of life; perhaps the insect itself has lived in the air — the larva must live at first in the water. The insect doesn't know at all the conditions in which the larva must live; thus only an instinct, ruling it, can guide it to deposit the eggs there where the larva can live. Or let us observe animals such as the beaver, etc., which form with their organization, form what we can call outer architecture, grown from within themselves — then we are not far from admitting according to the laws of external observation that intelligence works into animal substance itself. When we look at man, we see that after he is present he has to appropriate, at first, those faculties which are already formed into animals. He is not so far advanced that he has within himself that which the animals have already formed in themselves. That is a measure by which we can see that the animals are formed earlier and that the forming of man is still going on after he is already born. Thus it is no proof that man originated from the apes when the natural scientist Emil Selenka found that the ape nature, in its embryo stage, is much nearer to man's figure, than the later ape's figure. On the contrary, we can assume from this fact that the plan for man's figure was a more original one than that for the ape's figure; only that man realizes his figure as late as he enters into earth evolution.

Everywhere natural science shows in its facts that that which Spiritual Science has to say is proved, confirmed, just through the most advanced science. Yes, we could go even farther — I don't shy away from doing so! — and show how natural science today brings to light, as it were, something against their theories, which furnishes full evidence for Spiritual Science. Just if we yield to such results of research as those about propagation of lower animals through the brothers Oscar and Richard Hertwig in 1875 (what later on is confirmed many times) that the principle of fertilization; for instance with the eggs of the sea-hedgehog (echinus) — can be replaced through the influence of acids, that consequently a fertilization can come about out of a seemingly purely inorganic process — it must be said that processes which today are bound to the principle of heredity can only be imagined, and can happen in such a way that they present themselves outwardly, while they have presented themselves quite differently in olden times. Thus we can speak very well about the fertilization of the living nucleus of the earth (which was unformed living matter) by the spiritual formative principle flowing around it, by agreeing with the facts of natural science, so that the living had fashioned (formed) itself out of the formative principle, and that then the lifeless separated from the living which was the uniform substance of the entire earth.

Contemplating the origins of the animal world it becomes clear to us that in truth the entire earthly existence reveals itself in such a way that we can understand it only along the lines of Goethe, who has said, but only by way of a hint, in such a way that results concerning the origin of man and animal, have reality for the spiritual researcher. For if we turn our gaze to the whole world, by what means, in truth, does all that which surrounds us gain its real worth, its value? Only, as Goethe says, through mirroring at last in a human soul. For Spiritual Science the natural earth process shows itself really progressing from the oldest forms to the youngest ones, in such a way that everything is composed towards presenting man as the flower of the earth form — as that which finally must be brought forth out of the earth process, as likewise blossom or fruit is brought forth, finally, out of the plant. Thus from the contemplation of the origin of the animal world as a fundamental conviction of spiritual-scientific knowledge, results what we can consider in the following words, enlightening the human being, awakening the consciousness of the dignity of man, which is built up on the basis of every other being (alles uebrigen Daseins), and at the same time really imposing on us a responsibility: because we could become man only because the whole rest of earth evolution was aimed at us, we must prove ourselves worthy of this earth by endeavoring to progress from one stage of perfection to another: for evolution shows us that it is aiming at the shape of perfection of man. And that imposes on us the obligation that binds us not to stand still, but to move upwards to more and more sublime forming of spiritual life. This spiritual life which man carries in him today could be built up only on the basis of what is lower by pushing off what is material. So we must likewise assume that we must push off and leave to lower elements that which we carry in us today in order to develop a still higher spiritual life in us.


sketches the group I of the animals as offspring of the SoM

also on Human races#1912-04-13-GA136

[Group I of animals]

Till now I have only been able to say that the occult vision which raises itself to the first of the super-sensible worlds lying above us, does not find in the physical world with regard to the animal, what he finds there with regard to man — namely, the ego; for that which in man we call the ego, the I, can only be found for the animal on the astral plane, in the super-sensible world; there only it has the center of its activity. Occult science cannot ascribe an ego to the animal in the physical world. It does not deny an ego to the animal, but states that what can be designated as the ego of an animal, is only to be found in the astral world. Objection may easily be raised to the fact that an ego is denied to the animals, even to the higher animals, on the physical plane, whereas it might be said, and indeed often is said — that with regard to their actions animals display an extraordinary intelligence, a quite wonderful comprehension, so that much that the animals does on the physical plane can be likened to what man does. Now, those who express themselves thus have not grasped the fundamental principle of this matter. It would not occur to anyone who penetrates into these matters, to deny what we call human soul-forces to animals on the physical plane.

There is no question of that. In this sphere lies the foundation of manifold mistakes and misunderstandings. Thus, misunderstanding would at once arise if a certain materialistic Darwinism were to say in our time: “Indeed you Anthroposophists look at the matter as though man were definitely to be sought on a higher stage of spirituality than the animal; whereas we see that the animal develops intelligence, so much intelligence, so much even of a certain instinctive morality exists in the animal kingdom, that what man has in his soul-forces may well be but a sort of higher stage of what we meet with in the animal kingdom.” The point of view here involved is quite erroneous. No unprejudiced study would deny intelligence, even reason, to the animal kingdom. We need only consider such facts as that man, comparatively late in his evolution arrived at the discovery of paper. The discovery of paper by human intelligence is represented in our historical descriptions as a very great acquisition; and in a certain respect it certainly is a sign of human progress. Yet the wasps knew this art millions of years ago; for the material of which the wasps build their nests is really paper. We can therefore say: “That which the human intellect as such accomplishes, that the animal kingdom already possesses far, far down in its ranks.” It would not occur to an unprejudiced observer to deny human soul-forces, as such, to the animal; indeed in the realm of occultism we are even convinced that sagacity and intelligence in the animals is much surer, more precise, and much more free from error than in man. The essential point is that in man all those soul-forces relate to an ego in the physical world, an ego which is developing itself individually in a physical world, going through an individual development and education.

[Differentiation of species through planetary forces]

.. as regards the animals belonging to any one group, we know that the circle of their development depends simply on the species, the genus, to which they belong; but the case of man who develops himself as an individual is quite different. If we direct our gaze to the animal kingdom, we find in the animal world the most varied forms, which differ far more from each other than do the human races. Certainly we find great differences in the human races, all over the earth, but if we compare these with the great difference of the animals from the imperfect up to the more perfect species, we notice how powerful is the differentiation in the animal kingdom; quite different from that in man.

On what then does this depend? We can best obtain an approximate answer, if we first of all ask: What causes the variety of groups in the animal kingdom, the different species, which we find characteristically spread over the globe?

Occult vision shows us that the cause of the varieties of the animal species does not simply originate on the earth; rather does the animal species receive its forms from cosmic space, and indeed the forces which produce the one species come from a different part of cosmic space from that whence come the forces which produce another. The forces which construct the various animal-forms, stream down upon our earth-planet from the other planets of our planetary system. We may actually divide the whole animal kingdom into six or seven principal groups, and these chief groups have the highest group-egos. These have the impulse for their activity in the six or seven principal planets belonging to our System; so that the forces which form the principal groups of the animals work down spiritually from the planets.

In saying this we have at the same time given the concrete explanation of what is actually meant when we speak of group-egos of the animals. It means that in the animal dwell spiritual forces, belonging to beings not to be sought upon the earth itself, but outside the earth in cosmic space, and indeed primarily in the planetary world. The Regents, as it were, of the principal group-forms of the animals live on our planets; they had to withdraw into these planets in order to work down with their forces at the right distance from the earth and from the right direction. For only from these directions in space can that come which builds up the principal animal forms in the right way.

[Beyond seven principal animal forms, differentiation through zodiacal sign]

Now if the planets were only to allow these forces to stream down upon our earth, we should not actually have the multiplicity in the animal kingdom we now have, we should only have seven principal forms. Once upon a time, in far distant ages, there were only the seven principal animal forms; but these seven forms were very mobile, determinable, so soft and plastic in their formation that they could easily be transformed; one special form into another and again other forms into others; this actually occurred at a later period of time. The seven principal forms date far, far back; but then appeared other forms in addition to these, and as it were, worked either to strengthen or hinder the forces of the planets.

I shall now have to explain how these other forces came into being. If we direct our ordinary vision to the heavenly spaces we may easily believe that everything is actually of like form; but this is not the case. If we direct our gaze to a certain direction in space, occult vision perceives something quite different in one direction from what it sees in another. Space is by no means a homogeneous affair; it is not alike on all sides; for different forces work from the different directions of space. The whole of cosmic space is filled with spiritual beings of the different hierarchies working in different ways from various directions on to the earth. In those past ages when man had a certain original primitive clairvoyance, the following was clear to him: “If at a particular hour of the day I direct my gaze to one part of the heavens I encounter certain forces, while in another direction I encounter certain other forces.” And men were also aware that from certain points specially precise and definite forces worked down from cosmic space, which were of quite particular importance to the earth. These are all arranged in the stellar circle of cosmic space which has since ancient times been called the Zodiac. Men did not then speak without reason of the Zodiac or Animal Circle; they knew why it was so called.

In the heavenly spaces the case is as follows. The forces which worked down from the planet Mars, for instance and brought about in the still plastic animal substance, one of the seven principal forms, worked in a different way according to whether Mars stood before one sign of the Zodiac or before another. The Zodiac was divided into Twelve Signs, which represent the constellations, and according as the Martian forces which affect one animal form, stood before Aries, or Taurus, or any other constellation, their influence varied. In this way the seven different forms were modified.

A number of different animal forms were thus made possible; and if you consider that to this must also be added the fact that Mars, for instance, can work qualifyingly when he stands before Leo so that he supplants the Lion in relation to the earth; or that from the other side he works qualifyingly when the earth is between the sun and Mars; you see that there are a very great number of possibilities.

All these forces have worked together to differentiate the seven original groups of the animal kingdom; so that the whole multiplicity of our animal forms on the earth arose from the fact that the forces of the planets are actually the abode of the group-souls, the group-egos of the animals; and that these beings fulfil their tasks from these centers, for only from there can they do so. For only because that particular group-soul of an animal form which was to work down from Mars selected that position in the heavens can it exercise the corresponding result upon the earth below.

Here lie the forces which brought about the multiplicity of our animals; and when we use the expression, “The animal group-ego is to be found on the astral plane,” that really means that when occult vision wishes to seek the group-ego of any animal form, he must not seek for it on earth, but on one of the planets.

That which with regard to man is to be found on the earth, occult vision can only discover for the animal outside in cosmic space, amongst the planets. Just as, for instance, a man who has to accomplish something upon the earth which necessitates various standpoints, must adapt himself to these, so must the group-ego which dwells on a planet pass through cosmic space in front of the Zodiac, in order to differentiate its forces from there. If we bring the facts just stated into connection with the fact that the impulse for the animal forms is continually sought to-day in some principle of the earth itself — in the struggle for existence — or in natural selection or the like — then the facts which have come into being through the efforts of Darwin, for example, are magnificent in so far as he did not go beyond the facts. For unconsciously Darwinism has described the mobility of the original animal forms and how they were actually created from the basic forms. But, according to the whole predisposition of our times, man has looked away from the fact that the forces which create those forms work down from cosmic space; and that therefore the creators of the animal forms are to be sought in the world of the planets which belong to our planetary system, but are outside our earth.

[Animal group soul offspring of SoM]

Of what nature are the spirits which we have now described as the group-souls of the animals and which have their dwelling-place upon the various planets?

It is then seen that these group-egos of the animals are the offspring of that category of spiritual beings to which I have referred in this course of lectures as the Spirits of Motion. Thus we must look upon the group-souls of the animals as the offspring of the Spirits of Motion.

Now the Spirits of Motion actually gave out of their own substance the astral body to man, during the ancient Moon-condition. In order to complete the matter we may therefore say: This earth was preceded by the Moon-condition, during which man received his astral body from the Spirits of Motion. In other words. When the earth was Moon — the old Moon, not the present one — (the present moon is only a detached portion of the earth itself, whilst the ancient moon was an earlier incarnation of our earth) — whilst the earth was in this ancient Moon-condition, the Spirits of Motion hovered as it were, over this old Moon and allowed their own substance to trickle in, to stream in to what man had brought over from previous conditions. So that what man acquired as astral body — which was new to him, for at that time he had only his physical and etheric bodies — was derived from the Spirits of Motion. The ancient Moon has disappeared; the earth has been formed; the Spirits of Motion have developed off-spring, besides carrying on their own evolution. These are the beings we designate as the group-egos of the animals; they have not taken up their abode upon the earth but upon the other planets, in order so to work upon the earth from there as to bring forth the animal forms, in the manner we have described. We can, in a certain sense, describe the group-egos as offspring of the beings of the Second Hierarchy.


Do the kingdoms of nature around Man also change?

Yes; the kingdoms of nature do very materially change. I have already mentioned that, to the vision of a clairvoyant, the physical body, even of an ordinary person, presents the appearance of a number of paintings, and these shine more and more within the more the person progresses.

Now, how does the case stand with the animals?

When with clairvoyant vision we look at an animal its physical body also changes into Imaginations, and then we know that these animals are not what they appear to be in maya, but are imaginations: that is, they are imaginations, conceived in a consciousness.

Who, then, conceives the animals as imaginations? Whose imaginations are they?

Animals, also plants in their outward forms — though plants less than animals, and least of all minerals — are imaginations of Ahriman. Our physicists seek for the material laws in the external kingdoms of nature; but the occultist comes more and more to the knowledge that the external kingdoms of nature, as far as they present themselves as material beings, are imaginations of Ahriman.

We know, indeed, that behind the animals, for example, are the group souls. The group souls are not imaginations of Ahriman, but the separate individual animals in their external forms are imaginations of Ahriman.

Thus, if we take the lion-tribe; the group-soul of this species belongs to the good spiritual beings, as it were, and the war of Ahriman against the good spiritual beings consists in his pressing their group-souls into the separate individual forms of the animals and imprinting upon them his own imaginations. The separate lion-forms, as they move about outwardly in the world, are forced out of the group-souls by Ahriman. Thus the external world which surrounds us also changes gradually into something quite different from its appearance in maya.


.. if a major earthquake occurs somewhere, for example, animals will leave the place beforehand. Humans will stay and allow the earthquake to destroy them. Animals are prophetic by nature, for there is rational sense everywhere; they have not yet stuffed themselves with sense.


part one covers the animal world, and uses the archetypal language of eagle, lion and cow to describe the subsystems of Man - see Man as a threefold being.

  • The bird is essentially head. Its plumage corresponds to the power of thinking in Man. In the bird breathing dominates and lightens all other systems.
  • In the lion there is balance between breathing and blood (Circulation, which latter the digestion is there to serve. All parts of the lion reveal the mastery of the rhythmic system.
  • The cow is all digestion process, and the entire universe works in its digestion.
  • Man is a harmonious synthesis of bird, lion and cow, in which creatures he sees also his soul powers reflected.
  • Stages in the development of the butterfly in relation to the sun. These stages compressed in the case of the bird. Bird plumage corresponds to momentary thought, the butterfly to memories.
  • The sun in relation to outer planets. How it works on the eagle in connection with the outer planets, especially Jupiter.
  • The lion is pre-eminently the sun animal. It has perfect balance between inner and outer.
  • The sun in connection with the inner planets works on digestive processes, exemplified by the cow. Its forces also work through the earth, and produce the heaviness in the cow nature.
  • The cosmic urge today to separate the three systems of man. The alluring calls of eagle, lion and cow, and their dangers for West, Centre and East. Possible mechanization of the earth and its consequences for the planetary system. A wrong way of using the secret of the cow.
  • The counterparts to the animals in the African fable, and the fable retold for modern times.
  • what man is at present unable to do is performed by the eagle (type of the birds) and the cow (type of the essential animal). Through its feathers the eagle carries spiritualized earth substance into the spiritual world: through its digestive processes the cow gives materialized spirit substance to the earth.
  • Rejoicing of earth-spirits in the activities of the cow, and of air and fire spirits in activities of the eagle.
  • The lion as organizing the right balance between eagle and cow.
Daskalos - from MoS

Have you ever considered how many such elementals people create daily?

Had they been able to see the form of the elementals they project, they would have been filled with terror. This is what is commonly called the "evil eye." I once saw a painting of a man confessing his sins and there were snakes coming out of his mouth. Do not think that they were the fantasies of the artist. A clairvoyant can literally see these snakes.

How often do you see such elementals come to you during sleep and frighten you?

These elementals are either sent to you by others or they are your own creation. It is also possible that you might have picked them up in your sleep from the pool of elementals floating and wandering in the etheric world. Elementals of desires-thoughts have shape, power and a life of their own. They can become snakes and bears and other animals. Children often see them in their sleep and have nightmares


Daskalos on several occasions had talked of how men have made the creatures of the Earth their adversaries and that there was a time when animals and men lived in peace and harmony. If you genuinely love an animal, he said, no matter what it is, you have nothing to fear from it. It is our hostility towards animals that causes them to attack us.

Daskalos claimed he could carry on conversations with animals, including snakes. He once described to me how a snake sat at the top of a canvas he was painting arid how he got some sugar, put it in his mouth and, after mixing it with his saliva, invited the snake to help itself right from his mouth. The snake took up the invitation and with its tongue licked up the sugar. There was an eye­witness to this episode who allegedly almost fainted.


Animals are clairvoyant (passage with his grandson and snake by the seaside)

Daskalos - from HTS

Elementals can affect people with evil predispositions, but never the inno­cent. Now you may ask what an evil act is.

To have an evil act you must have an evil thought and a corresponding emotional disposition. That means before you even carry out an evil act you have already created the evil. You have already created the vibrations that lead to evil acts.

When you have an evil thought and evil disposition you generate the analogous vibrations and the corresponding form of the evil. So you have two conditions, the radiating energy of the evil and its form. The form is the elemental, which is charged with the intensity of the projected energy. This is what black sorcerers are doing, creating elementals having a particular shape and charging them with energy.

But of course human beings with their hatreds and resentments create such negative elementals constantly. And they do so either consciously or subconsciously. Most people create these thought forms without knowing what they are creat­ing.

If you are a clairvoyant you can see these elementals coming out of people in the shape of animals like snakes of various sizes and colors, apes, bears, and so on that do not exist on the physical material level yet do exist within the astral-mental dimensions.

These elementals are harmful to human beings who vibrate on the same frequencies. Evil attracts evil in the same way that the good attracts the good. Innocent people have nothing to fear because their vibrations are on different frequencies than what your friend called the free-floating evil essence.

Bear in mind that human beings create such elementals even while asleep, while dreaming.


Note 1 - Group souls of ants and bees

Both ants and bees are examples of animals who have their group soul at higher planes than the other normal animals. Rudolf Steiner points out the key difference between ants and bees in respect of their group soul in several lectures, see o.a. 1905-06-18-GA091, 1905-12-28-GA090B.

  • In the first GA091 lecture a table is given showing that the 'animal state' [editor: or 'community-based-animals'] group soul is on the 'mental plane' (which is interestingly drawn separately of, and above, the rupa and arupa planes of the spirit world). We could assume (hypothesis only) that the person who made the drawing was not sure where to put this, and/or that Steiner left it open to position the group soul exactly versus the others.
  • In the second GA090B lecture it is pointed out that bees are of a different and higher nature than ants.

The selfless nature of bees is mapped to the characteristic that they have the group soul on the budhi plane (re other lecture reference, to be added). We can deduce the ants do not operate in the same way, it can be deduced they probably have the group soul in the spirit world.

See more on the topic page: Bees

Note 2 - Various biological research

1) For morphogenetic fields, see wikipedia page: morphogenetic field

2) For Ernst Haeckel's (1834-1919) concept of phylogeny, see: Recapitulation#.5B1.5D - Haeckel.27s theory of recapitulation

3) Rupert Sheldrake (1942) developed the concept of morphic resonance that posits that "memory is inherent in nature" and that "natural systems... inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind."

This does not find acceptance with contemporary mineral science who positions this as pseudoscience. More on this on worldview wars and relationship between mineral and spiritual science.

Nevertheless, Sheldrake asks scientific attention and research for unexplained phenomena such as animal migration and the homing of pigeons, and animal precognition (incl. premonitions of earthquakes and tsunamis). See eg the book: 'Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home' (1999).

These phenomena are to be understood by the animal group soul and formative forces (see Schema FMC00.175A above)

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Wolfgang Schad (1935-1922)
    • base work was the 1971 DE version published in 1977 in EN:
      • Man and mammals: Toward a biology of form (1977 in EN, original in 1971 as 'Säugetiere und Mensch. Zur Gestaltbiologie vom Gesichtspunkt der Dreigliederung' with new DE edition 2012)Threefoldness in Humans and Mammals - Toward a Biology of Form
    • this book was published by Adonis Press in a limited 'interim' expanded version as 'Understanding Mammals' which the author didn't have the chance to fully review. That complete review did happen eventually, and let to the publication of a new two volume work with a new title:
      • Threefoldness in Humans and Mammals: Toward a Biology of Form
  • Hermann Poppelbaum
    • 'Man and animal' (EN in 1931, DE original 1931)
    • 'A new zoology' (1961)
  • Adolf Portmann (1897-1982):
    • Animals as Social Beings (1961)
    • Animal Forms and Patterns: A Study of the Appearance of Animals (1967)
    • Essay in Philosophical Zoology by Adolf Portmann: The Living Form and the Seeing Eye (1990)
  • Karl König
    • 'Bruder Tier : Mensch und Tier in Mythos und Evolution' (1967)
    • 'Elephants, bears, cats and dogs, horses' (1992 in EN, partial translation of 'Bruder Tier')
    • 'Animals - an imaginative zoology' (revised EN edition 2013, essays in DE between 1956-1966)
      • in different chapters are covered: seals, migration of salmon and eels, elephants, the bear tribe and its myth, swans and storks, the dove as a sacred bird, the sparrows of the earth, dolphins, cats and dogs - companions of Man, brother horse
  • Frits H. Julius
    • 'Das Tier zwischen Mensch und Kosmos - neue Wege zu einer Charakteristik der Tiere' (1970)
    • 'Die zwölf Triebe in Tier und Mensch. Eine kosmisch orientierte Triebpsychologie' (1996)
  • Gerbert Grohmann: 'Lesebuch der Tierkunde : achtzehn Tiere' (1977)
  • Charles Kovacs: 'The human being and the animal world' (first published 2008)
  • Iwer Thor Lorenzen: 'Basic questions of evolution' (1958-60 in DE), Chapters 1 and 3
  • Leendert F.C. Mees: 'Tiere sind, was Menschen haben' (DE in 1987, original in NL 1984 'Dieren zijn wat mensen hebben')
  • Andreas Suchantke: 'Der Vogel und sein Evolutionsmotiv'
  • Eugen Kolisko
    • Zoology for Everybody
      • No 2 - The Birds
      • No 3 - The Mammals
      • No 4 - The Protoza
      • No 5 - The Coelenterates and Echinoderms
      • No 6 - Tunicates & Molluscs
      • No 7 - Insects
      • No 8 - Amphibians & Reptiles
  • Malcolm Lyall-Watson (1939-2008)
    • Whales of the World: A Field Guide to the Cetaceans (1981)
    • Elephantoms: Tracking the Elephant (2002)
    • The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs (2004)
  • Jos Verhulst: 'Der Erstgeborene : Mensch und höhere Tiere in der Evolution' (1999, original in NL)
  • Gespräche mit Tieren 1 to 7 (Flensburger Hefte, 2008-2013)


  • Adolf Portmann (1897-1982): Metamorphosis in Animals: The Transformations of the Individual and the Type (1964)
  • Iwer Thor Lorenzen
    • Ideen zur Metamorphose und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Insekten (typoscript 1936)
    • Metamorphosen Part 1 (1958)
    • 'Evolution durch Inkarnation und Metamorphose' (1969)
    • 'Grundzüge einer Metamorphose der Tiere (in Anknüpfung an Goethe)' (1973)
  • Andreas Suchantke:
    • 'Metamorphosen im Insektenreich : Beitrag zu einem Kapitel der Tierwesenskunde' (1965, 1994)
    • Metamorphose: Kunstgriff der Evolution (2002 in DE), in EN as: 'Metamorphosis: Evolution in Action' (2011), reprint 2019 in DE as 'Metamorphose: Kunstgriff des Lebens'
  • Wilhelm Hoerner : 'Der Schmetterling : Metamorphose und Urbild : eine Naturkundliche Studie mit einer Lebensbeschreibung und Bildern aus dem Werk der Maria Sibylla Merian' (1991)
  • Rupert Soskin: 'Metamorphosis: Astonishing insect transformations (2015)
    • modern high quality photographic illustrations

Goethean science

  • Ernst-Michael Kranich: 'Wesensbilder der Tiere : Einführung in die goetheanistische Zoologie' (1995 in DE, also in NL 2008 as 'Dierstudies. Een goetheanistische studie van het dierenrijk')
  • Craig Holdrege: 'Seeing the Animal Whole: And Why It Matters (2021)
    • The Flexible Giant: Seeing the Elephant Whole (2003)
    • The Giraffe's Long Neck: From Evolutionary Fable to Whole Organism (2005)
    • 'Seeing the Animal Whole: And Why It Matters (2021)