Atlantean epoch

From Anthroposophy

The Atlantean epoch is the epoch before our current epoch. A great culture had its base in the land of Atlantis in the Atlantean ocean, it perished with the flood. Many symbols as well as references can still be found in the Greek culture, ao with Plato. It consisted of seven different 'sub-races', quite different from our current epoch were this notion of 'race' no longer applies.

This culture was characterized through still pliable bodies, not solid mineral like our current, hence no physical bodily remains such as bones are to be found. They had a strong memory and developed the power of thought in the fifth sub-race, which was the foundation for our current 'race' and current civilizations. They also had control over the life force, called vril or later Tao.

In the middle of the Atlantean epoch a great crisis took place by a 'seduction' that led to the betrayal of the mysteries and secrets of the vril force, which was then used for selfish and evil purposes. This was the origin of black magic. See also the likely link with Rakshasas.

In the fifth age selected groups started migrations to develop further, and this was the basis for our current epoch and race. In comparison, the two last root-races were lukewarm or laggards in terms of further development.

The Atlantean epoch

  • was key for the development of the 'I' in Man that started in the Lemurian epoch.
  • saw the rise of Ahrimanic adverse influences
  • and there were two sacrifices by Christ (on the lower spirit and astral planes) to guide the balanced development of the I forces penetrating the etheric and astral bodies of Man, so Man would have balanced soul facilities of thinking, feeling and willing.

Aspects

  • the Earth, elements and kingdoms in the Atlantean epoch
  • constitution of Man, his body and senses - the different races
  • control over the life force (called vril or later Tao), the life force that causes germs to sprout was extracted from the seeds to be put to use
  • culture, arts and technology: the cities, the navigation ships, etc
    • cities
    • space ships: the force accumulated from large stocks of seeds, the airships were propelled. These vehicles moved near the air in a still dense air, and 'equipped with a kind of steerage apparatus, they rose up and moved' (1909-06-10-GA109, 1909-04-06-GA109)
  • the Atlantean Oracles (see section below and 1909-05-31-GA109)
  • the betrayal of the Mysteries in the Atlantean epoch
  • the great migrations
  • contemporary research into the Atlantean culture and its remnants

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.105 gives an overview of the sub-races in the atlantean epoch

FMC00.105.jpg


Schema FMC00.205
sketches the great migrations from Lemurian and Atlantean epoch (from Gunther Wachsmuth). Hence Lemuria and Atlantis are indicated as centers from which these people streamed out in the directions indicated by the arrows. The arrows themselves don't give final destinations but rather indicate directions. Note this has to be projected into the time dimension over very long time periods.

See also: Human races

FMC00.205.jpg

Schema FMC00.205A is another presentation from Gunther Wachsmuth's 'The Evolution of Mankind'

FMC00.205A.jpg

FMC00.214 shows some maps with the location of the main continent of Atlantis

FMC00.214.jpg

FMC00.214B shows maps from William Scott-Elliot (1849-1919) who wrote The Story of Atlantis (1896) and The Lost Lemuria (1904). Both were later combined in 1925 into a single volume called The Story of Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria. Rudolf Steiner mentioned Scott-Elliot ao in 1904-GA011, for more info see: Evolution of Earth

FMC00.214B.jpg

FMC00.214C shows details from the maps by Scott-Elliot. The Poseidonis map correlates with Kircher's see FMC00.214.

FMC00.214C.jpg

FMC00.214A gives Rudolf Steiner's description of location and form. See FMC00.206 for a tentative map in the Atlantean epoch

FMC00.214A.jpg

FMC00.206 provides some world maps from the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs (see also FMC00.209 on Earth's seven epochs)

FMC00.206.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

to be shortened, currently only copies

1904-06-26-GA090A and 1904-06-27-GA090A contain descriptions of the Atlantean culture including

  • the vril-force
  • the origin of black magic from the Turanian

1905-10-16-GA093a (in evo) describes Man in the Atlantean epoch with the following features:

  • less frontal brain, farther-receding brow
  • much stronger, more vigorous etheric body
  • etheric body not yet developed connection with brain
  • immense etheric head, embedding a comparatively small physical head
  • a kind of fiery coloured formation was visible, which streamed out from the opening of the physical head towards the etheric head
  • thinking in the etheric, controlling the etheric a.i. causing a seed to grow and bloom
  • used seed power (samenkraft) of the plants to propel his vehicles
  • higher spiritual beings had an influence on the unfree will; through the open etheric head they worked through the intellect
  • Only from the last third of the Atlantean epoch, from the time of the original Semites until the time when Atlantis was covered with the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, did the frontal etheric head develop the frontal brain. Through this man lost the power of influencing the growth of plants and gained only the capacity of the physical brain, of intellect. With many things he now had to make a new beginning. He had to begin to learn mechanical work. In this he was like a child, clumsy and awkward, whereas before in developing the vegetable kingdom he had achieved great skill.

1905-11-09-GA054 (SWCC)

The Atlantean race did not yet have the abilities of combining, of counting, of logical thinking. The Atlantean had an almost omniscient memory. His knowledge was generally based on his memory. He did not know what we call law or rule. He did not calculate in such a way that he knew a multiplication table; indeed, he did not know this. His memory was the basis for his whole thinking. He knew if he had piled up twice five beans that this was a small heap of so and so many. He did not count, but he kept it in his memory.

His language was also different from ours.

.. a certain clairvoyant talent belonged to him inevitably which withdrew when our day consciousness, our reason, our mathematical, logical consciousness, our cultural consciousness developed. The Atlantean was able to quite different sense to work on the growth of plants out of his nature using the special magic willpower. Without sensuous mediation, the Atlantean was able to carry out certain magic effects. All that also was connected with a completely different body structure, above all with a receding forehead and with a defective formation of the forebrain. On the other side, other parts of the brain were unlike those of the modern civilised human being. This enabled him to use his big abilities of memory.

.. the brightness of our present consciousness,that bright clarity of the intellect which our modern consciousness has, was not yet achieved. It was a brooding and dreaming consciousness. What worked with him was also not in such a way that he could regard himself as the master of that which he caused, but it was in such a way that everything that was in him was like a kind of inspiration. He felt to be connected with other forces, like with a spirit flowing through him. The spirit was something concrete to him, it was that which was in the wind, in the clouds and which grew up in the plants. The spirit was something that one could feel if one moved the hands through the air, if the trees rustled. This was the language of nature. The independence of the Atlantean was also not as great as that of the modern human beings.

...

In the old Atlantis was no distribution of rain and sunshine, air and water as today. There was another air saturated with water. There was not yet rain at that time. Myths and legends hold on these things vividly. Hence, the Nordic legends also speak of “Niflheim,” “nebulous home.” A real fact forms the basis of that.

The forms of our ancestors were different from ours, and those human beings whom they left behind got to conditions, which they did not stand. Hence, they had to develop to lower stages, they became decadent, and they degenerated.

1909-01-01-GA107

From the middle of the Atlantean epoch an opponent quite different in character from Lucifer approached man, namely the Being who casts such mist and darkness around his faculties of perception that he makes no effort nor unfolds any urge to fathom the secrets of the world of sense. If you picture to yourselves that under Lucifer's influence the sense-world became like a veil, through the influence of this second Being the physical world in its totality became like a dense rind, closing off the spiritual world. It was only the Atlantean Initiates who were able, through the preparation they had undergone, to pierce this dense covering of the material, physical world. ... the influence of that Being who since the middle of the Atlantean epoch had approached mankind, with the result that many of the Initiates at that time had lapsed into the practice of a form of black magic; having been led astray by this tempter, they misused for the purposes of the physical-material world what was accessible to them from the spiritual world. The mighty influence of the forces of black magic which finally led to the destruction of Atlantis had its origin in the temptations of that Being whom Zarathustra taught his people to know as Ahriman (“Angra Mainyu”), the Being who opposed the God of Light proclaimed by Zarathustra as “Ahura Mazdao”, the “Great Aura”.

1909-02-15-GA109 sketches a time picture of Atlantis

We have often talked about the fact that humanity must consider its ancestors to have come from ancient Atlantis, a former geographical region situated between what is today Africa and Europe on the one hand and America on the other. All the souls that are present today had already been incarnated in Atlantis, but in bodies that were in part considerably different from the ones we are accustomed to seeing. The Atlantean humanity had its own special form of leadership, and the soul-forces — indeed all the faculties — of the Atlanteans differed greatly from those of human beings. Hence, leadership as we know it today was nonexistent. In Atlantis, for example, there were no churches, ceremonial centers, or schools in the modern sense, but there existed an intermediate institution between ceremonial center and school; that is what we call the mystery sanctuaries or centers. Leadership of the Atlanteans with respect to learning and the conditions of external life was vested in these sanctuaries, and one could say that the spiritual leaders were at the same time kings of the Atlantean tribes. Initiates, whose mission can be circumscribed by a word of later coinage, by the word oracle, imported knowledge and exercised leadership in the mysteries. We therefore designate the great centers of Atlantean culture as the “Atlantean Oracles.”

We have to get a clear understanding of the function of these oracles. They had to impart knowledge to human beings about the spiritual world behind the physical world. Knowledge such as this is different from ordinary knowledge in many ways; to stress only one difference, spiritual knowledge is not confined to space as is our present knowledge of the physical world. Anyone who, for example, knows about the mysteries of Mars also knows a great deal about the spiritual mysteries of the entire universe. All the heavenly bodies of our solar system are interconnected, and as such they are the exterior expression of spiritual beings. The individual who knows these spiritual beings also knows the forces that are at work from one planet to another as well as in the spiritual world during the time between death and rebirth. And so it was the primary task of one oracle in Atlantis to transmit and proclaim to human beings the mysteries of Mars, whereas the primary task of another was to communicate the mysteries of Jupiter, and so on; and these compartmentalized insights made it possible to lead certain sections of the population. We shall speak about the reason for this at another occasion since our task today is a different one.

The Atlanteans were divided into groups, and part of the whole developmental process was that one group of human beings had to be governed especially by the forces that could be acquired through the knowledge of Mars. Other groups had to be governed by the forces acquired through the knowledge of Venus, or Mercury, and so on. In ancient Atlantis there were actually human beings alive whom we could call “Jupiter People” or “Mars People,” and there were seven oracle centers because the populace in ancient Atlantis was divided into seven groups according to racial characteristics. The names applicable to these oracle centers corresponded to the names of the planets, but they were assigned to the oracles at a later time. The leadership of, and supreme sovereignty over, all other oracles was vested in what we may designate as the Atlantean Sun Oracle. Whatever oracles existed in the post-Atlantean periods — in Greece, Egypt, Asia, all were successors of the Sun Oracle in Atlantis. This is true also for the Apollo Oracle in Greece. The initiate who headed this Sun Oracle was the guardian of the deepest mysteries of our solar system. Together with his subordinates, he was called upon to investigate the nature of the spiritual life on the sun itself. His role was to proclaim to Atlantean humanity the secrets of the whole planetary system and to exercise supreme authority over the other oracle centers.

Selecting material for cultivation

A very special task devolved on the Initiate of the Sun Oracle. It was to guide humanity in such a way that when the great catastrophe culminating in the submergence of Atlantis was over, the human race would be able to propagate and establish what we have often discussed as the postAtlantean cultures. Specifically, the task of the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle was to prepare human beings during the Atlantean time in such a way that they could enter the ancient Indian, Persian, Egypto-Babylonian-Hebraic, and Graeco-Roman cultures. To put it differently, the Great Initiate had to see to it that enough suitable soul material was available for these cultural epochs.

We must now inform ourselves a little about the task of this Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle.

What were the essential features of Atlantean culture?

Certainly it was quite different from later cultures. In ancient Atlantis, an individual belonging to the highest level of cultural life — the levels at which today's great leaders in, say, scholarship, art, industry, or commerce can be found — was one who possessed extraordinary clairvoyant faculties and who was especially skilled in the use of magical powers.

The qualities usually attributed to a leader or to a scholar were nonexistent in those days, or they were known only in the most primitive form. But although modern arithmetic, counting, logical reasoning, and intellectual deduction were unknown to the Atlanteans, they did possess primitive clairvoyant faculties and powers with which they could pierce into the spiritual worlds. Without the modern ego-consciousness, the Atlanteans saw into the spiritual world, and those whose vision was the most penetrating became the pillars of Atlantean culture. We have already stressed that the Atlanteans were able to manipulate certain inner forces of nature, for example the seed forces of plants; they propelled their vehicles with them, just as we utilize coal to propel our vehicles.

To repeat, the leaders of the Atlantean culture were not the people who tried, as the leaders of our time try, to unlock the secrets of the universe with their intellectual powers; rather, the leading individuals in Atlantis were those who excelled as clairvoyants and magicians.

And those human beings who had the first rudimentary inkling about arithmetic, counting, logical reasoning, and intellectual deduction were in a certain sense despised because of their simplicity and were not considered as belonging to the aristocracy of cultural life. But it was precisely those human beings who possessed the very first rudimentary knowledge of the aforementioned skills and who were the most lacking in clairvoyant and magical powers whom the Great Leader of the Sun Oracle gathered from all regions. Yes, he assembled the most simple and, in a sense, the most despised people of ancient Atlantis — those who had first developed intellectual capacities. But those who were then at the highest level of cultural life and who were the acknowledged masters of a dimmed clairvoyance were not suitable material to be led through and beyond the great Atlantean catastrophe. No, the call of the Initiate went out to the simple people.

Comparison with current epoch: a ‘call’ indeed

Incidentally, it may be said that we are living in an epoch today when a similar call is once again going out to humanity. To be sure, this appeal is what is appropriate for today, a time when humanity sees only what is in the physical world. The call to humanity issues from unknown depths of the spirit, depths that humanity will gradually become acquainted with, asking that humanity prepare itself for a new culture of the future, which will be permeated with clairvoyant powers. As with Atlantis, a catastrophe will occur, and afterwards a new culture imbued with spiritual capacities will arise, and it will be linked to what we call the idea of the universal brotherhood of humanity.

But today, as in Atlantean times, the call cannot go out to those who stand at the highest levels of cultural life because they will not understand. The Atlantean clairvoyants and magicians, who were in a way destined to die out with their culture, occupied a position similar to that of people in contemporary life who occupy the highest positions in the realms of scholarship and external industrial life—the great inventors and discoverers of our time. No matter how much the present leaders feel there is still to be done, they nevertheless occupy the same position as their Atlantean counterparts. Contemptuously they look down on those who are beginning to feel something of the spiritual life to come. The consciousness of this fact must be awakened in the soul of anyone whose cooperative efforts in the theosophical workshops are to be strengthened. When leading representatives of modern culture look contemptuously down at these small circles, those who are participating diligently in the preparation of future conditions must say to themselves that the intellectual giants of today cannot be counted on to lead the way in this task. It is precisely the people who are held in contempt because they are not considered to have reached the heights of contemporary erudition who are being assembled today, just as the leader of the Sun Oracle once gathered around him the simple of Atlantis. These disdained people are being assembled to prepare the dawn of a new culture whereas erudition of the modern form will bring about the twilight of our culture. This is mentioned in passing to fortify those who have to endure and hold their own against the attacks of the people who consider themselves to be on the cutting edge of contemporary culture.

The Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle gathered his simple people in a region approximately to the west of present-day Ireland. Now we have to get a clear picture of the situation. It took Atlantis a long, long time to come to its end. Great masses of people were continually moving from the West toward the East. In the various regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa there were tribes who had arrived at different times and had intermingled. Then the Great Leader of the Sun Oracle took His small group of chosen people and made His way to Central Asia, where he established a colony from which the currents were to emanate that would later found the post-Atlantean cultures. However, in addition to His simple people, the Great Leader has taken something else with Him. And here we arrive at one of the chapters of human evolution, the truth of which we can comprehend only if we draw on the inner assurance gained by a steadfast engagement in Spiritual Science.

1909-04-06-GA109 touches on Atlantean culture and technology – vehicles, navigation, ..

Let us call to memory a similar movement in the last third of the Atlantean epoch that started small just like ours. The Atlantean soul life, which in many ways was still clairvoyant, had reached a high point during that time, but it did not yet have the consciousness of self, the strong feeling of the “I.” Instead, Atlanteans had a certain ability of clairvoyance and also certain magical powers, and this enabled them to look into the spiritual world. Those who had progressed to be leaders of this civilization were the ones best able to gaze into the spiritual world in the old ways and to bring forth the most knowledge from the astral realms. This clairvoyance disappeared little by little; in fact, mankind had to lose it completely in order to conquer for itself the consciousness of self in the physical world. But it is certain that clairvoyant knowledge in the last third of the Atlantean era had reached a special climax.

You will remember the technological achievement of the Atlanteans. They flew over the earth in small space vehicles — close to the earth because the atmosphere was saturated with thick fog formations. They propelled their small vehicles through this sea of air and water with energy derived from sprouting plants. The leading creators of this technology can be compared to today's industrial wizards who construct ingenious machines from lifeless forces. And those Atlanteans who could relate the most from the spiritual world can be compared to today's leading scholars and natural scientists.

However, within this Atlantean humanity a segment of people began to evolve who had only minor clairvoyant faculties, but possessed the ability to regard the external world with affection. The first rudimentary beginnings of arithmetic and counting could be observed in these people, but their participation in the great advances of the Atlantean industry — the construction of ever mightier vehicles for this sea of water and air — was very limited. And thus a small, insignificant group of people had developed in this last third of the Atlantean period who, in a certain sense, were despised for their comparative lack of clairvoyant power and their inability to participate in this great industry. However, this group of people prepared the way for seeing and knowing that is prevalent today, the way of seeing and knowing of which the external world today is so proud since it developed it in such a one-sided way.

Those leaders of the Atlantean civilization who had mastered everything that could be known from the vantage point of the Atlantean consciousness, including technology, conceived of a technical idea toward the end of the Atlantean era that has become fully productive in modern times. We can compare it to another measure of progress in our time that will carry over into the next catastrophe.

During their golden age, the Atlanteans had vehicles that moved through air that was heavily mixed with water.

Later, however, when their culture was already in a state of decline, it also became necessary to navigate the water, and this led the last cultural races of the Atlantean era first to embracing and then to realizing the idea of navigation and the conquest of the seas. This momentous idea in the Atlantean era not only of traversing the air but also of navigating the ocean water was quite a sensational idea that was put into reality by the last Atlantean races. After long experiments to navigate the waters, success came during the time when Atlantean culture was already in its decline.

Those responsible for this tremendous progress were not the ones who could be recruited for the task of transmitting the legacy of the actual spiritual life from the Atlantean era to our time. Rather, this task was reserved for the plain and simple people because they had been the first ones to be endowed with the ability to relate to the physical world. They were the ones whose clairvoyant faculties, though deteriorated the most among the several groups of people, were still adequate for those who were messengers from the spiritual world. These people, despised by the great scholars and inventors, were gathered by an eminent initiate whom we call The Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle. This small group was comprised of people who had least preserved their technical abilities and who were disdained by the leaders and by the great scholars and inventors. Yet it was precisely they whom the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle led from the West to the East, through Europe and into Asia. And it is also this small group of people that made the foundation of the post-Atlantean cultures possible.

The best of what was subsequently developed by the various cultures, the mighty tree of post-Atlantean knowledge and wisdom, emanated from the descendants of the despised simple people from the Atlantean era. Above all, something else emanated from the midst of the descendants of this group of modest people. Let us place the external events side by side with the internal events of our evolution. Let us look at the great sensation of the Atlantean era when the secondary racial group, whose descendants were the Phoenicians, invented navigation.

What was accomplished by this invention?

We need only to remember the great events from the beginning of modern times, such as the great voyages of discovery by Columbus and other seafarers, which would have been impossible without navigation and the invention of ships, and we shall see how this sensational invention led to the gradual conquest of the physical plane on earth. PostAtlantean peoples were confined to a small radius of activities, but through the invention of ships the circle defining the earth became rounded out so that we now have a completed configuration of the physical plane. And thus, the sensational invention of the Atlantean world reaches into our time and promotes further progress on the physical plane.

However, the greatest conquest in the Atlantean era emanated from the descendants of that group of plain people gathered around the Great Initiate of the Sun Oracle. And when those descendants, through their own development, had prepared the Indian, Persian, Egyptian, GraecoLatin, and our cultures, the earth became capable of yielding the material into which the Christ could be born. Therefore, the greatest spiritual event and deed of the post-Atlantean era had its beginning in the people who belonged to the most despised human beings in the eyes of the leaders of the Atlantean civilization, and this event gave rise to the immense spiritual progress that supports and maintains all spiritual life in our time — weaves through it and makes it productive.

1909-05-03-GA107 looks at the impact of the development of the I in the Atlantean epoch, the migrations and the people we see in the Postatlantean epoch today, see: Human races 1909-06-10-GA109 contains a description of the airships

With their will power, the Atlanteans could control the germinal forces in which deep secrets lie hidden: the forces of air and water. Fire was beyond their control. Let us be clear that when we look at a locomotive today, constructed by and controlled by man, this is something quite different. Today man understands how to make the forces contained in coal serve his purposes, to turn them into a propelling power. This process means that he controls the lifeless, mineral force in the coal.

The Atlantean controlled the actual life force contained in seeds. Think of the life force that causes the blades of grass to sprout from the earth. This life force was extracted from the seed by the Atlanteans and put to use. In their sheds where the Atlanteans kept their “air ships” they laid up enormous stocks of seeds, just as we today store coal. With the force accumulated from the seeds they propelled their vehicles. When the clairvoyant looks back to that epoch, he sees these vehicles near the earth in the air that was still dense to a certain extent; equipped with a kind of steerage apparatus, they rose up and moved. The Atlanteans controlled these forces.

Now it is unthinkable to imagine that the soul forces of plants can be applied by magical means without at the same time influencing the forces of air and water. When the will of the Atlantean turned to evil and used these forces for egotistic purposes, he simultaneously evoked the forces of water and of air, released them, and Atlantis perished as the result. The continents came into existence through the cooperation of the elements and man. But now the ahrimanic influence was gradually able to become so strong that man could no longer see the spiritual. Behind physical matter he could see nothing except the mineral element, the inorganic, and therewith the magical powers vanished ever more completely from him

and

A man of ancient Atlantis would have been able to break a railroad track, with ease, not because his physical forces were strong, for his bony system had still not developed, but through his magical, psychic forces. A cannon ball could have been repulsed by this psychic force. The density of flesh developed only later. A similar phenomenon is still to be found today in certain lunatics who on account of the liberation of strong psychic forces — in that condition the physical body is not properly connected with the higher bodies — can lift and throw heavy objects.

...

Because in Atlantis man's physical body was still pliable, he could more easily adjust himself to processes in the life of soul; the physical stature could be made to decrease or increase in size. If, for example, a man in Atlantis was, let: us say, stupid or sensual, he fell into matter, as it were, and became a giant in stature. The more intelligent human beings developed a delicate constitution and were smaller in stature; those who were dull-witted were giants. Man's external form was far, far more strongly influenced by the forces of soul than is the case today when substance has become rigid. The bodies of men developed in accordance with the qualities of soul, and this accounted for the great differences in the races.

When myths and legends have described the dwarfs as being clever and the giants as dull-witted, we recognize once again the reflection of a profound, occult trend.

...

[Ahrimanic influence]

If the evolution of humanity until the middle of the Atlantean epoch had proceeded without the influence of Lucifer, Man would by then have developed a picture consciousness imbued with a high degree of clairvoyance. There would have been in his soul something that through its power would have revealed the external world to him in inner pictures; he would not have perceived objects outside through his eyes. As a result of the luciferic influence man had perceived the physical world at an early stage, but not rightly. He saw the external world through a veil, as it were. Evolution as provided for him by the divine-spiritual beings was that in place of the dull, clairvoyant consciousness with which his inner world was perceived in pictures, he would have seen the external world but in such a way that behind everything material, spirit would have been present. He would have seen the spirit behind the physical world.

All of a sudden - not literally, for the process was lengthy - the external world would have appeared to man; Man would have awakened.

The inner world would have suddenly vanished but the consciousness of the spirit whence that world originated would have remained. Man would have seen not only the plants, animals and so forth but simultaneously the spirit whence they had come forth.

Because the luciferic beings drew man down to the earth too soon, the external world had the effect of hiding the world of spirit from him; physical matter became opaque for him. Otherwise, he would have seen through it to the primordial spiritual ground of the world. Because man had come down too soon into matter, it proved to be too dense for him and he could not penetrate it.

But from the middle of the Atlantean epoch onward, other retarded spiritual beings were able to impregnate this matter, in consequence of which it was as if clouded, made turbid, and man was again no longer able to behold the spiritual. These were the ahrimanic or Mephistophelian beings. .. Through untruth Zarathustra calls Ahriman the liar. He beclouds the purity of the spirit of man, conceals the spiritual from him. Ahriman comes after Lucifer and instils into man the illusion that matter is a reality in itself.

So in his progress, during which the divine-spiritual beings wanted their influence to work upon him, man allowed himself to be subject to two other influences:

  • those of Lucifer who assails man in his inner nature, in the astral body, endeavoring to confuse and mislead him. We must speak of Lucifer as the spirit who is active within man.
  • Ahriman is working from outside, deludes man to a certain extent, causing the external world to appear to him as maya, as matter. Ahriman is the spirit who spreads matter like a veil over the spiritual and makes recognition of the spiritual world impossible.

These two spirits hold man back in his development to spirituality. It was especially the ahrimanic influence that asserted itself in man and caused the Atlantean part of the earth to perish.

...

In the earliest period of the Atlantean culture, Man possessed strong magical powers. With these powers he controlled the seed forces, mastered the forces of nature and in a certain way was still able to see into the spiritual world.

Clairvoyance then gradually faded. Men were destined to found the culture belonging to the earth; they were to descend to the earth in the real sense.

Thus, at the end of Atlantis there were two kinds of human beings within the peoples and races.

  • Firstly, at the height of Atlantean culture there were seers, clairvoyants and powerful magicians who worked by means of magical forces and were able to see into the spiritual world.
  • Beside them were people who were preparing to be the founders of present humanity. They already had within them the rudiments of the faculties possessed by men today. They could emphatically no longer equal the achievements of the old Atlanteans but they were able to make preparation for intelligence, for the power of judgment. They possessed the elementary faculties of calculation, computation, analysis and so forth. They were the people who developed the rudiments of the intelligence of today and no longer made use of the magical forces applied by the Atlantean magicians at the time when their application was already fraught with danger on account of the powerful ahrimanic influence. They were those “others,” the despised people, rather like the anthroposophists today who meet together in small groups, or like the first Christians in ancient Rome who gathered together in the catacombs.

Now in Atlantis there were also centers of culture and ritual, the Atlantean Oracles, where the Atlantean wisdom was harbored and practiced. In accordance with the differences in human souls due to their having come down to the earth from different planets, there were necessarily different Oracles for men of different constitutions. There was a Mars Oracle, a Jupiter Oracle, a Venus Oracle, and so on. These Oracles were sanctuaries where the initiates, who were sages of a certain degree, guided and led the Mars race, the Jupiter race, and so on. All these Oracles, however, were in turn led by the still more powerful Sun Oracle. This was the leading center of the Mysteries whence the cultural instructions for the other Oracles proceeded. As well as this highest leadership, all Mars men were under that of the center where the initiate of the Mars Oracle resided, together with his pupils; all Mercury souls were led from the Mercury Oracle, all Jupiter souls from the Jupiter Oracle, and so on. All these Oracle centers, however, were subject to the authority of the great initiate of the Sun Oracle.

This great leader of the Sun Oracle, the greatest initiate of Atlantis, directed his attention above all to that section of human beings who differed from the ordinary population in ancient Atlantis. They were simple people who were looked down upon and who no longer possessed magical powers. But it was they who were gathered together by the great initiate because they had developed the new faculties, even if only in a primitive form. It was from them that understanding of the new age was to be expected. The great initiate gathered together this useful material for the future, and also those old initiates or magicians who had not persisted in clinging egotistically to the former practices.

Our present age presents a similar picture and can be compared with the conditions prevailing in Atlantis at that time. Today, too, there are on the one side the influential figures in the prevailing forms of culture, people who in their own way are magicians, working only with what is inorganic; on the other side, there are the despised people who still today want to work for the future. At that time, in Atlantis, the representatives of culture, the old magicians, also looked down with disparagement upon the small number of those who had developed the new faculty, which was useless in ancient Atlantis. The great initiate of the Sun Oracle did not, however, despise these people; today, too, the proud bearers of our culture look down upon a small number of human beings, upon the anthroposophists who gather in small, insignificant meeting places and are said to engage in all kinds of foolish activities. Generally speaking, they are unprofessional laymen who claim to be inaugurating the future. These are the people who are developing and preparing in themselves a faculty that to the others seems useless, but because it has a foreboding of the future is able to create a connection again with the spiritual world. In Atlantis long ago it was a matter of finding the connection with the physical, material world; the task today is to discover the spiritual again. Just as at that time the old initiate gathered his host together locally, directing his call to the simple, despised people, so today again, under different — not local — conditions, a call goes forth from the great Masters of Wisdom who are allowing certain spiritual treasures of wisdom to flow into humanity. Those possessed of certain qualities respond to this call as did certain human beings long ages ago; they were individuals who had within them primitive talents for calculation, computation and so forth.

This wisdom is not imparted in order that theosophical dogmas shall be grasped by the intellect but that they shall be understood by the heart. A man is then strong enough to know why theosophy is there today. It is there to meet a great challenge of evolution, and he who knows this also finds the strength to conquer all obstacles, come what may. He proceeds along his path because he knows that what is intended to come to pass through theosophy must come to pass for the further progress of humanity on the path to the spirit.

The great initiate of the Sun Oracle led the small group of human beings and founded a kind of cultural center in Asia. He drew these individuals to him in order to make them capable of founding post-Atlantean culture. During the great migration, everything that had come into existence in Atlantis had been mingled, jumbled together. It follows that in the post-Atlantean epoch one should no longer speak of races but of civilizations, cultures.

Betrayal of the Mysteries

see also Evil and Raksashas

1910-GA013

The betrayal of the Vulcan mysteries exercised an especially adverse influence, because the attention of their adherents was chiefly directed toward earthly matters. Mankind, through this betrayal, was made dependent upon spiritual beings who, in consequence of their previous development, held a negative attitude toward everything that came from the spiritual world, which had evolved through the separation of the Earth from the sun. According to the capacity thus developed, they acted in the element that was formed in the human being through his having perceptions of the sense world, behind which the spirit is concealed.

...

These beings acquired henceforth a great influence over many human inhabitants of the earth, and this influence made itself evident through the fact that the human being was more and more deprived of the feeling for the spirit. Since in these times the size, form and flexibility of the human physical body was still affected to a large degree by the qualities of the soul, the consequence of this betrayal of the mysteries came to light in changes in the human race in this respect also.

Where the corruption of the human beings became especially evident through the placing of supersensible forces at the service of lower impulses, desires, and passions, grotesque human shapes were created, monstrous in size and structure. These were not able to continue in existence beyond the Atlantean period. They died out

Location

1910-06-16-GA121

Let us clairvoyantly observe the old continent of Atlantis, which must be sought where the Atlantic Ocean now lies, between Africa and Europe on the one side, and America on the other. This continent was encircled by a sort of warm stream, a stream about which clairvoyant consciousness reveals that, strange as it may sound, it flowed upwards from the South, through Baffins Bay, towards the north of Greenland, encircling it and then, flowing over to the East, gradually cooled down; then, at a time when Siberia and Russia had not yet risen to the surface, it flowed down near the Ural mountains, turned, touched the Eastern Carpathians, flowed into the region occupied by the present Sahara, and finally streamed towards the Atlantic Ocean near the Bay of Biscay; so that it flowed in a perfectly unbroken stream.

You will understand that only the remnants of this stream still remain. This is the Gulf Stream, which at that time encircled the Atlantean Continent.

You will now also understand that, with the Greeks, the life of the soul is remembrance. The picture of Oceanos arose in them, which is a memory of that Atlantean epoch. Their picture of the world is not so very incorrect, because it was drawn from the old Atlantean epoch. The stream that came down by Spitzbergen as a warm current, and gradually cooled and so on, — the region encircled by this stream the Chinese have literally reproduced by enclosing within their Great Wall the culture which they rescued from the Atlantean epoch. There was as yet no history in the Atlantean civilization, hence the Chinese civilization is also in some ways lacking in history. Thus we have there something pre-Indian, something coming from Atlantis.

Atlantean Oracles and link to the planets

See also link with Human races and Planets hosting beings at various stages of evolution

1909-03-07-GA109

We have often talked about the fact that humanity must consider its ancestors to have come from ancient Atlantis, a former geographical region situated between what is today Africa and Europe on the one hand and America on the other. All the souls that are present today had already been incarnated in Atlantis, but in bodies that were in part considerably different from the ones we are accustomed to seeing. The Atlantean humanity had its own special form of leadership, and the soul-forces — indeed all the faculties — of the Atlanteans differed greatly from those of human beings. Hence, leadership as we know it today was nonexistent. In Atlantis, for example, there were no churches, ceremonial centers, or schools in the modern sense, but there existed an intermediate institution between ceremonial center and school; that is what we call the mystery sanctuaries or centers. Leadership of the Atlanteans with respect to learning and the conditions of external life was vested in these sanctuaries, and one could say that the spiritual leaders were at the same time kings of the Atlantean tribes. Initiates, whose mission can be circumscribed by a word of later coinage, by the word oracle, imported knowledge and exercised leadership in the mysteries. We therefore designate the great centers of Atlantean culture as the “Atlantean Oracles.”

We have to get a clear understanding of the function of these oracles. They had to impart knowledge to human beings about the spiritual world behind the physical world. Knowledge such as this is different from ordinary knowledge in many ways; to stress only one difference, spiritual knowledge is not confined to space as is our present knowledge of the physical world. Anyone who, for example, knows about the mysteries of Mars also knows a great deal about the spiritual mysteries of the entire universe. All the heavenly bodies of our solar system are interconnected, and as such they are the exterior expression of spiritual beings. The individual who knows these spiritual beings also knows the forces that are at work from one planet to another as well as in the spiritual world during the time between death and rebirth. And so it was the primary task of one oracle in Atlantis to transmit and proclaim to human beings the mysteries of Mars, whereas the primary task of another was to communicate the mysteries of Jupiter, and so on; and these compartmentalized insights made it possible to lead certain sections of the population. We shall speak about the reason for this at another occasion since our task today is a different one.

The Atlanteans were divided into groups, and part of the whole developmental process was that one group of human beings had to be governed especially by the forces that could be acquired through the knowledge of Mars. Other groups had to be governed by the forces acquired through the knowledge of Venus, or Mercury, and so on. In ancient Atlantis there were actually human beings alive whom we could call “Jupiter People” or “Mars People,” and there were seven oracle centers because the populace in ancient Atlantis was divided into seven groups according to racial characteristics. The names applicable to these oracle centers corresponded to the names of the planets, but they were assigned to the oracles at a later time.

The leadership of, and supreme sovereignty over, all other oracles was vested in what we may designate as the Atlantean Sun Oracle. Whatever oracles existed in the post-Atlantean periods — in Greece, Egypt, Asia, all were successors of the Sun Oracle in Atlantis. This is true also for the Apollo Oracle in Greece. The initiate who headed this Sun Oracle was the guardian of the deepest mysteries of our solar system. Together with his subordinates, he was called upon to investigate the nature of the spiritual life on the sun itself. His role was to proclaim to Atlantean humanity the secrets of the whole planetary system and to exercise supreme authority over the other oracle centers.

1909-05-31-GA109 (SWCC)

When a seer whose spiritual eye is opened so that he knows how to read the fine script of the Akasha Chronicle looks back into the spiritual worlds, he discovers the sites from which the culture and all spiritual life of those times emanated. Our souls can discover the sites where the masters and their disciples assembled in the mystery schools of that time. There were many such Mystery Centers on the ancient Atlantean continent, and they differed from those of today and were given a different name. They were not just churches and not just schools, but rather a combination of both. Those who searched for truth could find both religion and wisdom in the mystery schools; here, religion and wisdom were one. Using a modern word, we can characterize the concept of those cultic centers, the mystery schools, by the term “Atlantean Oracles.” This is the name given to them by the European mystery schools, but originally they were called something entirely different.

In the Atlantean Oracles and their centers of wisdom, spiritual life was differentiated in the same way that external knowledge and the areas of trade and professions are subdivided in external life today. There were various branches of spiritual investigation and occult wisdom in ancient Atlantis, but everything in those times depended on different conditions. Wisdom varied from one oracle to another according to the capacities of the human beings and their external environment. A connection existed between certain human capacities and certain planets. Certain spiritual faculties were connected with special planets. Therefore, we should distinguish between Atlantean oracles of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Just as did our earth, our present capacities also developed out of the cosmos, and they are in each case tied to different planets and their influences. On Atlantis, people who were suited to develop this or that cognitive capacity were chosen from the population and assigned to one of the seven oracles. Of the seven oracles, which were named after the seven planets in ancient Atlantis, the Sun Oracle stood out from all the others, but next to it the Vulcan Oracle prepared itself in secrecy for its future task.

Each of these oracles had emanated from the cosmos according to its capacity, but there was one center in which the capacities of all seven oracles flowed together, and it was here that the wisdom of the seven oracles in Atlantis coalesced. The adepts of this center, of the Holy Sun Oracle, had been initiated into the mystery and service of what we today know as the Sun. We should not forget that the physical sun is only the external expression or physiognomy — the body and garment — of the spiritual life of the exalted Sun-Being.

All of you have heard of the time when the sun separated from the earth, and along with the physical sun those beings abandoned the earthly arena who had advanced through the human state and, therefore, could no longer use the earth for their development. After the moon too had left, the earth was able to realize its destination of becoming the abode of humanity. If the sun alone had influenced the earth, the latter would have gone through such a rapid development that human beings would have become old soon after birth. By contrast, if our earth had been only under the influence of the moon, human beings would have been stiffened and become mummies Development would have been too slow, and their bodies would have reached a state of rigidity and lignification. However, through a wise guiding force, sun and moon maintained a balance in the external influence they exert on the earth; and this enabled earth and human beings to develop at a speed suitable to them. The beings of Mars, Mercury, Venus, and so on, who did not need the forces that had left with the moon and earth for their development, departed with the sun to take up their own abode. Yet they continued to be connected with the earth and sent their beneficial forces down to it in the sunlight.

1909-06-29-GA112 describes the Atlantean oracles in more detail, as well as the link with the Mysteries in the following current Postatlantean epoch

In Atlantis the leaders and their disciples kept a careful watch for everything that excited passions, instincts, and desires, for everything emanating from that quarter which aroused in man a deeper interest in his physical-sensible surroundings than was beneficial for his progressive development in the cosmic scheme. The first duty of one who aspired to become a leader was to practice this self-knowledge, to guard carefully against anything that might arise in him through Lucifer's influence. He had to study these Luciferic spiritual beings in his own astral body most accurately, for by so doing he could keep them at a distance. This also enabled him to perceive the other divine-spiritual beings, the higher, guiding ones, and particularly those that had transferred their own sphere of action from the earth to the sun, or to other planets; and the regions beheld by men corresponded to that from which they had descended.

  • There were human souls, for instance, that had come down from Mars; and when these, in keeping with their development, combatted the Luciferic influences in their own astral body, they attained to a higher degree of clairvoyance, to a pure and good seership, and they beheld the higher spiritual beings of the region from which they themselves had descended, from the Mars region.
  • Souls that had come down from Saturn learned to see the Saturn beings,
  • those from Jupiter or Venus, the Jupiter or Venus beings: each beheld his own region.
  • The most advanced among men, those who had survived the moon crisis, were able gradually to prepare themselves to envision not only the spiritual beings of Mars, Jupiter, or Venus, but those of the sun itself, the exalted sun beings.

Having come down from the various planets the initiates were again able to behold the spirituality of these planets. From this it is clear why in ancient Atlantis there were institutions, schools, where those who had descended, for example, from Mars were accepted, when sufficiently mature, for the purpose of studying the mysteries of Mars; and that there were other sanctuaries where those who had come from other planets could learn their mysteries. Applying the later term “oracle” to these institutions, we have in Atlantis a Mars Oracle, where the mysteries of Mars were studied, a Saturn Oracle, a Jupiter Oracle, a Venus Oracle, and so on. The highest was the Sun Oracle; and the loftiest of all the initiates was the ranking initiate of the Sun Oracle.

Because suggestion and the influences of will played so important a part, the whole method of instruction was very different. Let us try to imagine the nature of the intercourse between teacher and pupil. Assuming the presence of spiritual teachers who had achieved initiation as by an act of grace, we ask, How did the later neophytes arrive at initiation in the Atlantean age? Here we must imagine first of all the mighty impression exercized by those already initiated — through their whole conduct, their mere presence — upon those predestined to become their pupils. The very sight of an Atlantean initiate was enough to start a sympathetic vibration in the soul of the neophyte, thus disclosing his fitness for the discipleship. The influences that passed between men at that time were entirely remote from objective day-consciousness, and the type of instruction we know today was then unnecessary. All intercourse with the teacher, everything the teacher did, worked hand in hand with men's imitative faculty. A great deal passed unconsciously from teacher to pupil; hence the most important factor, for those sufficiently matured through their previous life conditions, was that in the beginning they should merely be admitted to the sanctuaries and remain in contact with their teachers. Then, by observing what the teachers did and by impressions made on their feelings and sensations, they were trained — prepared, indeed, over a very long period of time. Eventually the harmonious accord between the soul of the teacher and the soul of the pupil reached the point where everything the teacher possessed in the way of deeper spiritual secrets passed over of itself to the disciple. — Such were the conditions in those ancient times.

Now, what was the situation after the union of the etheric and physical bodies had become established? Although the two bodies had come to cover completely during the Atlantean epoch, the union was as yet not very firm, so that by an effort of will the teacher could, in a certain sense, withdraw the pupil's etheric body from the physical. It was no longer possible, even when the right moment had come, for the teacher's wisdom to pass over into the pupil as of its own accord; but the teacher could easily withdraw the pupil's etheric body and then the pupil could see whatever the teacher saw. So the slight or loose connection between the etheric and physical bodies made it possible to release the former, and the wisdom, the clairvoyant vision, of the master passed over into the disciple.

Then there occurred the great cataclysm that swept away the Atlantean Continent. Mighty elemental disturbances in air and water, terrific upheavals in the earth, gradually altered the entire face of the globe. Europe, Asia, and Africa, which had been dry land only to a very slight extent, arose out of the water, as did likewise America. Atlantis disappeared. Men migrated eastward and westward, and a great variety of settlements came into being. But after the mighty catastrophe mankind had advanced another step. Again a change had taken place in the connection between the etheric and physical bodies: in the post-Atlantean time the union of the two became much firmer. The teacher could now no longer detach the pupil's etheric body by an impulse of will and thereby transmit his power of vision as he had formerly done. Hence initiation, leading to vision of the spiritual world, had to take another form which can be described somewhat as follows:

The instruction which had been based largely upon direct psychic influence from teacher to pupil had gradually to be superseded by a form slowly approaching what we know as instruction today; and the farther the post-Atlantean age advanced, the greater grew the resemblance to our modern method of instruction. Corresponding to the Atlantean oracles, institutions were now established by the great leaders of mankind exhibiting similarities to the old Atlantean oracles: Mysteries, initiation temples, came into being in the post-Atlantean epoch; and just as formerly those fitted for it were received into the oracles, so now they were admitted to the Mysteries. There the neophytes were carefully trained by means of exacting instruction, because they could no longer be influenced as they were formerly. In all civilizations over a long period of time we find such Mysteries. Whether you seek in the culture we knew as the first post-Atlantean, which ran its course in ancient India, or in that of Zarathustra, or among the Egyptians or Chaldeans, you will invariably find neophytes being admitted to the Mysteries which were something part-way between church and school; and there they underwent a severe training calculated to promote thinking and feeling as these apply to events of the invisible, spiritual world — not merely as related to things of the sense world.

And what was taught there can now be accurately defined: to a great extent it was the same as what we have come to know today as anthroposophy. That was the subject of study in the Mysteries; and it differed only in that it was adapted to the customs of that time and was imparted according to strict rules. Today people who in a certain sense are ripe can be told of the mysteries of the higher worlds in a more or less free way and comparatively rapidly. Of old, however, the instruction was strictly regulated. In the first grade, for instance, only a certain sum of knowledge was imparted and all else kept completely secret. Not until the pupil had digested this was he apprised of anything pertaining to a higher grade. Through this sort of preparation, concepts, ideas, sensations, and feelings referring to the spiritual world were implanted in his astral body, a procedure tending at the same time to combat the influences of Lucifer; for all that is imparted in the way of spiritual-scientific concepts refers to the higher worlds, not to the world in which Lucifer aims to stimulate man's interest, not to the sense world alone.

Discussion

Development of the new faculty of thinking can also be seen in FMC00.092 showing a timeline for the 16-petalled throat chakra.

The rise of black magic

See more: black magic

The crisis in the middle of the Atlantean epoch was often referred to by Rudolf Steiner. However in the early lectures on gets a more dramatic sense of what happened. An objective short factual description is in 1909-01-01-GA107 above.

  • Read 1904-06-26-GA090A and 1904-06-26-GA090A where is described how they became black magicians, .. as well as 'Man: Fragments of Forgotten History' where the same sense of dramatic events is conveyed.
  • .. then read about the seduction of the Rakshasas. Little is said, but one can feel the seriousness of the theme as the link is made with the three day descent into Hades or Hell by Christ-Jesus. And the fact that is not the end of it for humanity.
  • Furthermore, study FMC00.077A and the early references to the development of the evil races in 1905-08-11-GA091 and 1905-08-12-GA091.
  • There is also a link of the above with the eight sphere, and 'who will be saved from evil and when', see Christ Module 14.

It is understandeable not the scope to give attention or interest into evil and its development, which is probably why Rudolf Steiner also limited the information on the topic. Nevertheless look for his coverage on the topic of black magic and the asuras to put the above in further context.

Origin of light root and bees

'The Light Root: Nutrition of the Future, A Spiritual-Scientific Study' (Ralf Roessner with Clemens Hildebrandt)

the light root and the bee are not found in the higher spirit world as other plants and animals. They have been created by the masters of the mysteries in ancient mysteries and their essence originates elsewhere. Both originated in the magical union of self-sacrificing animal/plant beings with spiritual Venus beings. These highly developed spirit beings had formerly been the inspirers of the social fabric in human communities, up until the decisive entry of the I. This separation happened at about the middle of the Atlantean epoch. The spiritual beings behind the bee colony and light root had become united by magical cultic means through priests in the Atlantean epoch. ... .. the ether body of the Venus being was brought in connection with a fig wasp (parasite), which was originally solitary, the astral body was connected with a twining, smotherling plant which was 'tamed' to become the light root. This to ensure a continuing union working productively into the future of the spirit self and life spirit of this Venus being ..

For more in depth reading on this, see Iwer Thor Lorenzen 'Metamorphosen' - third part: Bees and mystery beings.

Catastrophes

William Scott-Elliot maps show how various catastrophes caused major changes to the geographical layout of the continents, see FMC00.214B.

Note Beinsa Douno also speaks of a great earthquake that will shake the world in a similary dramatic way, see also Future Oriphiel age

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Ignatius Donnelly: 'Atlantis' (1882)
  • William Scott-Elliot: 'The story of Atlantis' (1896)
  • Sigismund von Gleich:
    • Der Mensch der Eiszeit und Atlantis (mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Urgeschichte der Mongolen, Abessinier und Basken) (1936, 1990)
    • Siebentausend Jahre Urgeschichte der Menschheit zwischen 12000 u. 5000 v. Chr. (1950, 1987)
  • Gunther Wachsmuth: The evolution of Mankind (1961)
  • Fred Poeppig, Das Zeitalter der Atlantis und die Eiszeit (1962)
  • Ernst Uehli: Atlantis und das Rätsel der Eiszeitkunst (1980)
  • https://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/index.htm contains an overview of further documents and references