Cosmic fractal

From Anthroposophy

The Cosmic fractal is a term or label to denote and describe the evolutionary dynamic of continuous development of spiritual hierarchies in a coordinated interplay in which nothing is static, all spiritual entities are evolving and developing, and the whole takes place along a certain plan and with certain laws or patterns which characterize the whole, and through which we can gain an appreciation, understanding, insight into creation and the true nature of the cosmos.

With our contemporary Waking consciousness, Man perceives with his senses an emanation of a physical reality, which is but an illusionary view of the macroscopic manifestation of a 'cosmic fractal' underneath which is generating this reality. This is sometimes also referred to by the term 'maya.

It is not that the 'cosmic fractal' is 'rendering' this illusionary view, rather - as illustrated by Schema FMC00.305 - it is Man's sensory perception and limited 'mineral' consciousness that causes him only to see part of the whole, and not the 'full story' of the spiritual realities, the way these can be perceived by the various stages of clairvoyance. Our waking consciousness is like a 'bandpass' filter limiting our view of the whole.

The buildup or make up of it all consists of spiritual hierarchies in various stages of development, with different structures across the various Planes or worlds of consciousness.

From our human perspective we perceive only part (of this macroscopic nature) of all we experience in reality. We label the qualitative aspects that we can distinguish as the Spectrum of elements and ethers. These concepts are like a stronghold foundation of building blocks by which we delineate a certain effect of the interplay of various spiritual beings, in other words: we describe 'the effects of their working together' in what we sense are the fundamental building blocks of nature. In a spiritual scientific worldview this logically fits into the evolutionary framework, see eg FMC00.149 on Four elements.

Alchemy is an example of a language to describe the interplay between these building blocks, elements and ethers. Modern spiritual science, as in theosophy and anthroposophy, is another language - more fitted to the soul qualities of the current age - to describe the world (the kingdoms of nature, including the nature of Man's bodily structure and functioning) in terms of these building blocks, as depicted in Schema FMC00.305.

Rhythm in Man and nature is a display of the structures underlying (see oa 25920, Spiritual hierarchies and their eigenperiods, and Lemniscatory timespace), and shows how Man is an integral part of the cosmos, embedded in this complex whole of Cosmic breathing.

The deeper one studies the qualities and dynamics of the substance of reality in the language of spiritual science, the closer it brings Man to the spiritual hierarchies. This is how Man can get to know them, not individually, but as the concerted interplay - like the manifold instruments that are individually lost but still make up the global sound effect on the soul in a performance of a complex classical symphony.

This topic page 'Cosmic fractal' is about this specific appreciation, of 'seeing, or knowing' the gnats in and through the swarm, to use Rudolf Steiner's example (eg 1923-05-02-GA224 or 1908-09-03-GA106 below).

This topic is currently developed on this site in the Discussion area, see Note [3] - 'Cosmic fractal nature' reasoning


  • terminology
    • The terms chosen may be considered unfortunate, but the above describes a spiritual scientific integrative description to cosmogony and teleology (see Meaning of life#.5B1.5D - Relevant concepts and terminology), in a way that one can develop a mystical feeling in one's soul for being part of this, Man as a microcosm in the whole of the macrocosmos (as elucidated from 25920).
  • for further introduction, see below in the Discussion area: Note [1] - 'On the term Cosmic Fractal'

Inspirational quotes

Franz Bardon (source tbc)

The entire universe can be compared to a clockwork with wheels that engage with each other and which are interdependent with each other


Schema FMC00.093 gives an overview of the different dimensions that roll off in one another in the great cosmic evolution


Schema FMC00.305 gives a very simple 'four level view' for studying anything we know in the world or cosmos. Starting at the highest level of experiential observation, we can study the structural components of a kingdom of nature, be it Man, Plant, Animal or Mineral. These bodily principles and subsystems are the result of the wise collaborative weaving of the spiritual hierarchies throughout the evolutionary process, using the available building materials or substance available at each stage.


Schema FMC00.403 depicts swarms of gnats (upper two rows) and of birds (lowest row), showing how apparent macroscopic densification takes place due to the perspective and 'type of perception' of the observer. With 'type of perception' is meant here the human eye or camera, but just as well the type of consciousness that is able to discern which of the various Planes or worlds of consciousness, see Stages of clairvoyance.

The swarm can look as a dense black or white cloud, but can also look as dots, or quickly moving particles. The lower left flock of birds is an example: the upper smaller image has been slighly diffused, showing an 'object', the larger picture below has sufficient resolution to show the dot pattern. Notice the beautiful cloud forms on display of the workings of the animal group soul of the birds working from the astral world.

Similarly in astronomy beautiful complex forms of deep sky nebulae also represent astral forms and not always an object of physical mineral nature.


Lecture coverage and references


for the full extract and context of this description, the fine etheric 'mist' in an early stage of Earth evolution, see Evolution Module 2 - Earth#1908-09-03-GA106

When we see a swarm of gnats from a distance, it looks to us like a single cloud; close-up, however, we see the single insects.


.. in this way, through the art that seeks out the reality in words, the Being of Man can be described once again. We get nearer and nearer to a real picture of this Being. Just as one might indicate on the blackboard the distribution of the figures in a picture by Raphael, say the Sistine Madonna, with a few characteristic strokes — the words physical body, etheric body, astral body and I are only an indication. The reality is living activity, inwardly full and rich; and in this activity the Beings of the Cosmos, in realm's of body, soul, and spirit, are revealed. In the end one comes always to Beings.

If anything is described as if it were vaguely extended in Space or swimming in Time, or as a physical world, etheric world, and so on — it is the manifestation which is being described. It is like describing a swarm of gnats seen in the distance, so that the particular gnats cannot be distinguished, only a grey patch in the air. In the real world, what are at first called etheric body, astral body, are such grey patches. If one looks closely at these grey patches in the physical air, one discovers the particular existing gnats. If one looks closely at these spiritual grey patches, “etheric body”, “astral body”, one always discovers Beings.

To Beings one must come at last in all understanding of the world. For Beings alone are real.

Anything comes into existence only through the co-operation of Beings — presenting then an unreal appearance to unclear vision. Just as in the unreal grey cloud the gnats are the real, particular beings — everywhere in the world it is particular Beings that are at work, and the rest is illusion, arising from the co-existence of Beings.

Physical matter, too, is an illusion of this kind, something of the nature of a Being underlies everything. Men must understand this again, in order not to speak of something that is not really there: of Matter - or (which is no better) of Spirit in general - in order to learn to speak about beings, individual Beings of the universe.

Once, in the old Mysteries, they knew how to speak about the Beings of the universe. They knew that realities could not be described by talking either of Matter or of what is called Spirit in the ordinary consciousness — a grey spirituality, conceived pantheistically as present in all things. They knew that if one wants realities, one must have particular Beings. But consciousness of these Beings has gradually been lost — to the same degree that in Man himself the equality of individual being has developed more and more. Man has become more and more intellectual ever since the first third of the fifteenth century. What he knows about himself becomes more and more abstract. But behind this abstract life there is a being living more and more within itself; increasingly rich in inner spirituality. Man lost the dreamy consciousness he once possessed of the Beings of the universe, in becoming a self-apprehending being himself. He must realize again that only when we can point to individual Beings in the universe do we grasp realities.

It was the necessary course of human evolution to see Being everywhere in ancient times, but in a dreamy consciousness. Then the time came, when things were felt in the following way.

The realities consist of all these Beings, living in the cosmos: SoW, SoM, SoF, archai, archangels, angels, human I's, animal group-souls, the cosmic souls of the plants and so on.

Not even the animals, as they live on earth, are realities; they too are illusion; the realities are the group-souls.

The whole plant world on Earth is no reality; the earth-soul is the reality. Plants are only as hair upon the earth organism, like the hair upon our own organism.

Men knew that all these Beings I have named existed in the universe, and shine out, manifesting themselves, revealing themselves in speech. They knew that this expression in speech proceeded from their essential being. And that universal resounding, which arises from the confluence of what is spoken by the particular Beings in self-revelation, this is the Logos. But to begin with, the Logos was also only an Appearance. Only because Christ united this appearance, and made it concrete in His own Being, was through the Mystery of Golgotha the apparent Logos born upon Earth as real Logos.


[1] - On the term Cosmic Fractal

A fractal is a term from modern mineral science and mathematics, to denote similar patterns arising at various levels. Mandelbrot series are graphical representation. Another image could be the 'russian dolls': the same figure at a different size, contained in a larger one.

The term Cosmic Fractal has been chosen because - although it clearly has the disadvantage to come with precast meaning from another context - it does 'coin' characteristics that appear in the study of spiritual science. And, because no other 'top level term' was already in use or available, to provide the approach or ingoing perspective as described below.

Of course God, Logos, Brahma, Trinity, etc .. are all 'top level terms'. Cosmic fractal describes the same, but now with just a zeitgeist twist to it that may make it sound more modern or intriguing. Offering a new 'brand' or flavour of spiritual science. All this may sound apologetic, as one could challenge the need to introduce yet another term.

However there are also advantages. The below will expand on what is 'in scope' and by outline of its contents describes what is meant with cosmic fractal. Using this term however stays clear from the discussion around the God and Creation theme that has caused so much misunderstandings and pain in humanity. Of course the cosmic fractal describes creation, Spinoza's God in nature, etc, but it is - in a way - also more.

It binds together the multitude of aspects offered by anthroposophy and spiritual science, such as 'not I but Christ in me', and EDN - ICM - PSSR, and the macrocosm-microcosm coupling described by Rudolf Steiner in his 'arc' of nine lecture cycles and 124 lectures between April 1920 to Dec 1921 (GA201 to GA209, starting with the famous GA201 cycle that was initially published as 'Man, hieroglyph of the universe'). And more: it includes a continuous extension from the worldview of mineral science, all scientific developments of materialistic science, graciously into a meta-representation that extends to spiritual science, with the Spectrum of elements and ethers, and the laws of the etheric (see Mathematics of the etheric and Formative forces) and the appreciation of the astral (see Lemniscatory timespace).

Introducing the cosmic fractal

Below is an outline that could be followed in a lesson or lecture, illustrated by the many FMC schemas on this site.

The above is a high level introduction. To bring it to live it needs to be filled with contents and an appreciation and contemplation of the wealth of concrete and specific illustrations.


Another term from modern mineral science is 'holographic', based on the fact that a hologram contains the characteristics of the whole in every point. This has led to the term being used by people trying to evolve their mineral science perspective to a more holistic. Eg Michael Talbot's 'The holographic universe: the revolutionary theory of reality (2011)

[2] - Using the zodiac clock for a view across epochs

The zodiac clock provides a calibration for the evolutionary time axis of epochs and cultural ages. This concept is used in practice by Rudolf Steiner in sketching evolutionary developments, and depicted in various Schemas. Three main ones are:

  • FMC00.020 - Apostles and Last Supper
    • linked to Schema FMC00.169 and variants, which illustrates the reasons why in various contexts, the evolution of humanity is counted in cultural ages or sub-races counting only the ones that take part in progressive evolution. See Holy Supper symbolism - apostles.
  • FMC00.092 - Development of human faculties
  • FMC00.373A - Christ across epochs

These different schemas are grouped in a meta study schema for an easy overview, see Schema FMC00.401 on D00.004 - Book of Revelation, the discussion page for aspects of the Book of Revelation

[3] - 'Cosmic fractal nature' reasoning

Not limited to this, source obviously, but certainly (and maybe especially) the Book of Revelation lectures by Rudolf Steiner (can) awaken(s) the realization in one's soul that what is to be read into the esoteric meaning of numbers contains a multiplicity of meaning, that can is multi-dimensional and does not map 1-1 to a single level in the various levels of evolution (see Schema FMC00.093 above and on more on Three dimensions of evolution).

In fact in Rudolf Steiner's descriptions (certainly of the Book of Revelation in the 1904-5 lectures) a certain type of ambiguity arises, if one tries to fix and freeze a description to just one perspective or dimension of meaning. This is also explicitly touched on in 1904-10-24-GA090A: there is not just one meaning.

For our rational mind educated in material timespace reasoning, this can be understood intellectually to a degree, maybe as follows.

The five levels shown in FMC00.093 (above) map to various hierarchies that 'sit' at a certain level of CoC themselves, as shown in Schema FMC00.077A. We see their effects in macrocosmic evolution ao in what is discussed on Spiritual hierarchies and their eigenperiods. However "all there is is only spiritual beings", as Rudolf Steiner puts it in 1923-05-02-GA224 (quote above).

The principle of evolution depicted in Schema FMC00.276 on Overview of solar system evolution shows indeed this ever-playing dynamic, and the various aspects of rhythms, phases and periods are clearly patterns where we can observe this, see the 'Related pages' section below.

Now just as Man goes through various phases of evolution, as we learn from Man's bodily principles and Man's transformation and spiritualization, the same is obviously the case for all other spiritual beings. Example is the way how H3 (angels, archangels, ..) work in Man's soul activities, and also in the kingdoms of nature.

The CoC-ladder in Twelve conditions of consciousness is exactly that, as explained in 1905-08-11-GA091.

And Schema FMC00.389 or FMC00.389A illustrates (on the right) an interesting key point in the transformation of beings from one level to another, with the 1904-11-10-GA089 reference about 'shedding buddhi' (covered on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension)

Furthermore, we have to consider the characteristics, the nature of the various planes or worlds of consciousness, because the emanation from the higher to the lower world takes place in the process described as the Golden Chain. And our perspective is coupled to the physical material, which induces a great series of effects, see Lemniscatory timespace.

Some specific examples:

  • for the rhythmic aspect of the etheric formative forces and the various planetary influences and their reversal, see eg Schema FMC00.379 on Formative forces
  • in the plant growth, we also see how the astral brings to a stop the rhythmic pattern of the etheric

Draft quote for inspiration, temporarily added here, is what someone kindly mailed:

Zur Apokalypse oder zu Deutsch Offenbarung. Es geht um die Offenbarung, die Verwirklichung oder Entrollung der christlichen Evolution in der Zeit. Die Zeit ist 7-fach strukturiert, also wiederholen sich 7er Zyklen. Was sich in den 7 Inkarnationen unserer Erde offenbart, von Saturn bis Vulkan wiederholt sich auf allen Ebenen, bis hin zu den 7 Wochentagen. Es gibt also eine Analogie sagen wir vom Vulkan und Laodizea usw. Die Offenbarung in der Zeit geschieht durch die Sphären von den höchsten Sphären immer weiter nach unten in immer niedrigere Sphären oder Zonen. Also was sich nun im Devachan zeigt wird sich später in der Astralis, dem Ätherischen und Stofflichen offenbaren. Dies ist das ganze Prinzip der Apokalypse, der Vollzug des Christliche  Mysteriums durch alle Sphären von oben nach unten (und in der Umsetzung des Menschen von unten nach oben).  Der Christus ist das neue Gravitationszentrum, nach dem sich alles ausrichtet, also im Karmageschehen nicht mehr nur "Ausgleich", sondern Nutzen, Fortschritt in der Offenbarung Christi im Menschen und der Natur. Ich sage damit natürlich nichts Neues .. aber unter dieser Perspektive ist das Multidimensionale der Apokalypse gut zu verstehen.

[X] - further draft notes

Various topics

  • seeing the 'order' of the cosmic fractal illustrated in nature
    • spirals, fibonacci and golden rule
    • chrystals, platonic solids
    • the music of the spheres
      • distances of the planets
      • eg the work of Hartmut Warm (re keplerstern)

Old notes

  • reverse recapitulation - 1908-03-24-GA102
  • spir hier working first half, second half free - cosmic breath
  • Lemuria electromagnetism lemniscate link - 1916-10-02-GA171
  • one CoL important, includes CoF globes see Revelation astral globe

Related pages

References and further reading