Cosmic year of Zarathustra

From Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner refers to a cosmic year of 12.000 earth years (divided into four parts) as taught by the great initiate Zarathustra (or Master Jesus) in the ancient Persian cultural age (1915-12-31-GA165). This cosmic year lasts approx. from around 6000 BC to 6000AD and is centered around the Mystery of Golgotha.

Around 6000 BC, Man's inner soul's consciousness was one, in its consciousness, with the astral body, or put differently: it passed through or intermingled with the astral consciousness of our body. In about 4000 years Man will again reach such mingling of his soul-consciousness with his astral consciousness, but at a higher stage.

The cosmic year of Zarathustra is a description of the mystery wisdom of the ancient Persian age, it can be related to the biblical ages (of Abraham, Moses, Solomon) and the Yuga ages, as depicted on Schema FMC00.013 below. The BBD drawings on the Schema illustrate Rudolf Steiner's description in 1915-12-31-GA165 of the gnostic wisdom arising from 'universal stellar consciousness', see Stages of clairvoyance and Schema FMC00.047 below. In about 4000 years Man's clairvoyant state of consciousness will again reach beyond the astral world to the spirit world.


  • the Schemas below allow to position the period of 12.000 years the Development of the I:
    • the amber bar on Schema FMC00.013 positions it in the current epoch, the third cultural age on Schema FMC00.047, whereas zooming out Schema FMC00.370 allows to position the same bar of 12.000 years on the timeline with the cultural ages.
    • for a lemniscatory presentation of a cycle, see Schema FMC00.107 on Lemniscatory time and space
  • a number of sources state that the visual physical sun rotates around its double, with corresponding periods of 24.000 years. This might potentially be related to the Cosmic year of Zarathustra of 12.000 earth years in the context of Lemniscatory time and space). See more on: Sun#Double star - and Zarathustra.27s great cosmic year of 12.000 years


Schema FMC00.013 below stacks a number of views and original illustrations that have been calibrated to a single horizontal time line.

See more on: Current Postatlantean epoch

The schema depicts the fact that in the current epoch the old form of natural or atavistic clairvoyance ('guided by spiritual beings') slowly ebbed away, and a new form of consciousness is forming and will further develop in the remaining cultural ages into a new independant form of clairvoyance.

The table under the blackboard drawing illustrations shows:

  • the grey cultural ages on top along the horizontal time dimension (the blue is the current, the yellow pointer showing our current century)
  • with underneath the typical level of clairvoyance, into which plane or world of consciousness
  • at the bottom, an illustration to show that 'like a curtain fell' over the old clairvoyance and connectness with the spiritual world (this is the only part of the picture not calibrated to the time scale, it should be more extended)
  • the blackboard drawing from GA191 shows: the old mixture of wisdom and morality is impacted by the central MoG event (in orange) .. and after a period of impact after consciousness soul (see also the GA343 drawing for this delay) .. a new future lies ahead with a different connectedness, clairvoyance and brotherly love that is developing.

Schema FMC00.047 below gives a tabular overview of the cultural ages for the current Postatlantean or Aryan epoch.

Schema FMC00.370 shows 'the big picture' of the development of humanity between the third and sixth epochs.

Below [in blue] the three major impulses (FMC00.185), with the descent of Man in the Lemurian epoch (into physical incarnation and gender), and [under the timeline in grey] the slow development of the sentient, intellectual and consciousness soul in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs as a gift of the Spirits of Form (FMC00.046 below). As part of that [in red] the Luciferic infection with following Ahrimanic and Soratic influences.

Also [below in yellow] the Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ to steer the balanced development of the I across Man's bodily principles. Then, in the current epoch [see vertical light grey lines] the refined sentient, intellectual and consciousness souls in three cultural ages. This development was supported with the Krishna impulse and the Being of Elijah. Central in the whole development: the Mystery of Golgotha (MoG) and the resulting changes in the age of the consciousness soul. See oa FMC00.167 and Schema FMC00.013 on Transition between 4th and 14th century.

The resurrection at the MoG caused the start of the Second Adam development of future spiritualized humanity with Christ as group soul. The second apocalyptic seal illustrates this (FMC00.348) with the Mystical Lamb being the future group soul for humanity that originates from the group souls of humanity (FMC00.283 and FMC00.181).

Hence, the schema depicts the individuation from humanity in stages. For the reference to the three cultural ages of the Sixth epoch, and the Father impulse, see the Book of Revelation.


Lecture coverage and references


is called 'The year as a symbol of the great Cosmic Year'

quote D

We know that we are now living in that cycle in which the consciousness-soul is unfolding, that this was preceded by that of the unfolding of the rational or intellectual-soul, which was again preceded by the cycle in which the sentient soul was developed, before which again we go back to the time of development of the sentient body.

[6000BC - development of the sentient body]

This takes us back 6,000 years before our Christian era, to a time when all human thought was evolved within the cycle of the sentient body, of the so-called astral body.

We have now to advance through the cycle of the spiritual or consciousness-soul, and through that of the Spirit-Self, and further still man has to develop.

The consciousness-soul is principally developed at the present time because man chiefly makes use of his physical body alone as an instrument. On this account — as you know already from many lectures — this present age is the high tide of materialism. A time will come, however, when man will not only make use of his physical body, but will again learn to use his etheric body, as in earlier times he used his astral body, in the cycle of evolution when that body was the main element of consciousness.

We can therefore say: Our condition at one time on Earth was such, that our soul experienced a contact of its consciousness with the consciousness of our astral body. Just as at New Year, plant-consciousness penetrates mineral consciousness, so, thousands of years ago, did our soul intermingle with our astral body. At that time our soul was one, in its consciousness, with the astral body. The time of that type of consciousness was six thousand years before our era. When that consciousness came about, Man celebrated a New Year on Earth; a mighty New Year!

Just as we regard the New Year as the mingling of the plant-consciousness with the mineral consciousness of the Earth, so we must realise that 6,000 years before our era a great, a mighty cosmic New Year of our Earth took place. Our Soul-consciousness then united with — passed through — the astral consciousness of our body.

What was it that then took place?

At that time when our inner soul-consciousness passed through (or intermingled with) the astral consciousness of our body — then our limited human consciousness, the consciousness which we have today, had progressed as far as the present plant-consciousness at New Year. Just as plants gaze abroad into the heavens because their consciousness has been united to the mineral consciousness of the Earth, so did Man then see and perceive a wide field of wisdom six thousand years before our era, when his soul was united with his astral body at the time of the cosmic New Year.

From this time originated the knowledge which we have now lost, since the wisdom of the gnostics has perished. The source of this knowledge must be sought in the earthly and cosmic New Year about 6,000 B.C. This was the knowledge from which Zarathustra gave forth his teaching; the knowledge, whose last great rays still illuminated the gnostics, but of which only a few fragments remain. It is the winter of the Earth, but the Earth's New Year to which we here look back.

[6000AD - in 4000 years from now]

If we now add four thousand years more to the years we have passed through since the founding of Christianity, we again come to a similar intermingling as that I have just indicated; to the mingling of our soul-consciousness with our astral consciousness, but at a higher stage. Man will once more experience a universal stellar consciousness. For this we endeavour to prepare ourselves through our Spiritual Science, so that there may be men ready to receive it.

We will seek to prepare for this cosmic New Year. If we prepare for it through the keeping of the Christmas Festival, as I indicated in a recent lecture, we are preparing ourselves in the right way. If the birth of spiritual knowledge within us leads to that frame of mind which is in accord with the ‘Christmas Initiation,’ we are preparing ourselves for that new cosmic New Year on which we shall enter twelve thousand years after the previous cosmic New Year.

Twelve months pass by between one union of the plant-consciousness with the mineral consciousness of the Earth, and another. Twelve thousand years pass between one cosmic New Year and another: between one intermingling of the human soul with the Astral World-Soul, and another.

So at this sacred season, we turn from the little New Year to the great cosmic New Year, from the New Year's Eve of our year, to that for which we are preparing ourselves, by endeavouring — now in this winter time — to behold the light, which in a normal elemental way flows into man as inhabitant of the Earth, only at the cosmic New Year.

We really only see the world in the true light, when we grasp what is around us, not only as it is presented to our senses, — as materialists do — but when we accept all that is about us in the outer world as a symbol of the great secrets of the universe.

Then when New Year draws near, it seems as if a message from spiritual worlds approaches, and unveils for us the mysteries connected with the birth of the New Year; and declares, ‘Behold, now in the depths of the dark cold winter, the consciousness of the plant world unites with the mineral consciousness of the earth. Let this be to you a sign that the Earth too has its year — the great cosmic year, of which Zarathustra spoke long ago, explaining how the world passed on from one great New Year's Eve to another; this must be understood by those who really seek to comprehend the course of human evolution.’

Zarathustra spoke of epochs of twelve thousand years. He meant the great cosmic years of which I have spoken to you today. He represented the course of human evolution as being divided into four divisions within the Earth year. This fact is deeply rooted in spiritual mysteries.


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