Aspects of the passage through the planetary spheres

From Anthroposophy

This topic page complements the description of the Passage through the planetary spheres after death, with a number of aspects:


  • see also


FMC00.247 compares the faculties of walking, speaking, thinking in incarnate life, with the experiences of Man between death and a new birth


Lecture coverage and references

spiral path



rhythm I/O


[Alternating conditions (very good description)]

However, I have to mention one thing: what you experience that way as an inner force of light develops gradually and cyclically.

  • Thus, it develops that you feel: in me the force of light has awoken; it enables me to experience certain other beings and processes of the spiritual world; but it dawns away if you have used it for a while. As you feel the outer sun setting in the evening, you feel the inner force of light more and more tiring in the life between death and rebirth.
  • However, when this has tired, another condition comes into being. In this condition the soul feels strong in its inside which it experiences repeatedly; but again it experiences that internally what it has brought from the other condition where it had developed the force of light.

Thus, one must say that the conditions in which we are given away to all spiritual processes and beings alternate with those where the inner light expires again and is, completely extinguished. However, our felt willing and willing feeling awakes there again in such a way that everything lives as memories in it that we have experienced in the spiritual world what comes from the outside. Thus, you have conditions that alternate, as if you live once in the outside world, then again as if you have taken the outside world completely in yourself, so that it appears as inner experiences. It is a change between these two conditions.

We can also say that we experience ourselves

  • once like in extensive sociability with the whole spiritual world;
  • then this condition alternates with inner loneliness in which we have the whole experienced spiritual universe in ourselves. However, at the same time we know that we live now in ourselves. What is experienced there is that what our souls have kept, and we are now not in contact with something else.

With the regularity as sleeping and waking alternate in life, these conditions change in the spiritual world between death and new birth, namely:

  • the condition of expanding in a mental outer world
  • and the condition of inner self-enjoyment and self-knowledge where one feels: now you are alone in yourself, excluding all outer processes and beings; now you experience in yourself.

Both conditions must alternate, because only thereby the inner force of light survives that the human being is rejected repeatedly on himself.

I have described these processes more detailed in my writing The Threshold of the Spiritual World [editor - see 1918-GA017]

This cyclic self-experience,

  • once in a lonesome,
  • then in a sociable life,

is necessary, because thereby the force of light survives. This goes on in such a way that one settles down in wealthier and wealthier spiritual worlds for which one needs more and more inner force of light. This lasts a long time. Then one feels that one is subjected to a certain border because one has settled in these spiritual worlds. This border depends on the capacities that one has appropriated in life. One soul creates a smaller horizon, the other a larger one.

Also cyclically

However, I have still to mention that also in the second half of the postmortal existence life runs cyclically.

We have to distinguish the time of life

  • in that outside world where we behold our former friends and relatives, our ideals et cetera externally objectively as it were,
  • and then that other time where we have them only in our inside.

This alternates again with necessity for the soul as in the usual life waking and sleeping, day and night alternate.


Two alternating conditions

With the dead man it is different; he sees himself in continuous interchange with that which he perceives. That is one of his conditions; the perception of the flowing-in and the continuous flowing-out of a living stream of thought.

The other is that this ceases, and a quiet recollection of what has flowed through him comes about; an intense and far-reaching memory, not our abstract memory, but one connected with the whole of the Universe.

These two conditions alternate.


also in the spirit world

As we pass behind the sphere of saturn, we pass what older traditions call the zodiac, representative of the heavens with their fixed stars, or in other words of spirit land in general.

But precisely when we encompass all the separate stars that compose the zodiac, we delineate the path that the human being has to pursue.

The human being takes this path in order to be able to develop the spirit germ of his next physical body from the whole cosmos, in cooperation with the spiritual beings of the hierarchies.

[Alternation of surrender-of self (to cosmos) and self-experience (drawing back into self)]

In this way, between death and a new birth, we progress through an alternation of self-experience and self-surrender.

To say this, however, takes us only as far as if we were to describe events on Earth in the course of the twenty-four hours by saying: Human beings sleep and wake. We have merely gone that far with such a description of a man's experience between death and a new birth in the spiritual world. For the outgoing surrender and the drawing back again of the self in the spiritual world are similar to waking and sleeping in earthly life.

And as in earthly life only those events a man has lived through find a place, so in the completion of these wheels of births and deaths the spiritual events involved are those a man has actually experienced between death and rebirth. In order to grasp these events we must form a sound conception of how matters really stand for a man in earthly life.


titled 'Rhythms of Earthly and Spiritual Life. Love, Memory, the Moral Life'


hierarchies forming karma


periods of seven years (<-> spheres)






detailed elaboration metamorphosis lower Man -> head org


Related pages

References and further reading