Development of the I
The Human 'I' or 'I'-consciousness is the development goal for humanity in the current planetary stage Earth, building on the principles of physical, etheric and astral body received in previous planetary stages. It maps to Condition of Consciousness level 4 - see Twelve Conditions of Consciousness.
The principle is such that the spiritual hierarchy that has evolved to the level of self-sacrifice - see Conditions of Consciousness - sacrifices its lowest element which then gives birth to something totally new in evolution, to a new creation. In this case the hierarchy that gave Man his threefold soul during the Earth planetary stage are the Spirits of Form (SoF). The process started in the Lemurian epoch and lasted upto the end of the Atlantean epoch, as the substance of the SoF 'rippled into' or 'took hold of' Man's existing bodies (see Schema FMC00.046).
For this first divine impulse called the Jehovah influence, see Schema FMC00.469 and Schema FMC00.443 on the Jehovah topic page
Because the three lower of Man's bodily principles were taken hold of, we can distinguish three phases and call them sentient soul, intellectual soul, and consciousness soul. These three points whereby the astral body, etheric body, and physical body were taken hold of took place in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs (FMC00.046), and gave Man the faculties of Walking, Speaking and Thinking characteristic of Man's I-consciousness. This process was accompanied by the Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ to assure a balanced 'implementation' of this I-impulse, protected from Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences (Schema FMC00.246).
For an overview of further individuation of the Human 'I', refer to Schema FMC00.377A that shows further consecutive impulses including the Krishna impulse (sentient soul), the Wotan Impulse (intellectual soul), and the workings of The being of Elijah.
Before the current Earth cycle, the foundations for the above were already prepared:
- Man's I-consciousness lives in the 'warmth' element and ether, and hence has a relationship with the Thrones and the Archai which lie at the origin of that warmth on Old Saturn. The Archai 'thought up' and afterwards 'carried' Man's I-consciousness substance and evolved it in the previous planetary stages so it became ready for 'individuation' and released into human individuality. (1925-01-11-GA026, see schemas FMC00.194 and FMC00.147)
- A second intermediate stage was the development of the Group souls of humanity on Old Moon.
The main phases
- Lemurian epoch
- Before the middle of the Lemurian epoch the divine consciousness hovered over the Earth where Man lived in its lower bodies. Then happened the divine intervention with 'Jehovah' (the name of one of the SoF, called Elohim in the Book of Genesis in the Bible): the image can be used of water dropplets in a sponge that are now being dispersed into individual dropplets of first stage I-consciousness in physical Man (see FMC00.046).
- the descent of the monads or 'sons of manas' (see Schema FMC00.443) is the beginning of the Human 'I' and Man's higher triad in the Lemurian epoch (1905-10-24-GA093A). It led to the creation of the double structure of the human astral body (see Schema FMC00.134) and double structure of Man, and was also the start of the Eight sphere (1905-10-16-GA093A)
- the 'descent of the monads' is really a complex process during which multiple elements and influences blend (1906-01-06-GA262, and see also Schema FMC00.457) and develop over a period of time (re influence of Mars and Mercury - see Schema FMC00.451 and Schema FMC00.219 on Epochs in Earth physical round). "Of the three members of the astral body, the sentient soul, intellectual soul and consciousness soul, the human being brings only the first, the sentient soul, with him from Old Moon." The other parts come from the influence of Mars and Mercury. (1906-01-07-GA262)
- archangelic Venus-beings bring sensual emotions to Man's astral body. This is the so-called 'separation of the sexes' whereby also "the intellect becomes fruitful as it receives half the productive faculties saved from the sexual powers".
- the monads (in first instance their manas which developed during Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon stages) descend into the organ of the intellect in Man .. this results in the blending and the double nature of the astral and etheric bodies (higher and lower, see above for references)
- lunar pitris (the angels who on Old Moon went were weaving the astral bodily principle for Man - see (see Old Moon#1911-06-07-GA015) bring earthly knowledge and freedom
- 'regular' lunar pitris (who developed normally on Old Moon) imbue the astral body with the Mercury element from without
- 'backward' lunar pitris from Mars bring astral forces that infuse Man's intellect with passion - this is the luciferic principle in Man
- about the descent and the three groups of beings, see Lemurian epoch#Main evolutionary events
- some spiritual beings delayed their descent and didn't incarnate but later, this is called the Fall - see Fall and redemption - original sin and grace#1904-05-23-GA093
- 'first outpouring of the god Jehovah breathed the breath of life and Man became a living soul' (1907-04-01-GA096, see also Schema FMC00.122 on Proposed segmentation in study modules as part of the Guided study approach to Christ)
- Atlantean epoch
- in the ancient Atlantean subraces focus of consciousness was in the etheric head, which projected far out beyond the physical head and especially powerfully in the region of the forehead (outside the brow)
- individuation set in from the fifth subrace, upto the fourth subrace in the Atlantean epoch humanity was strongly under group soul influences
- then the point of the etheric head drew in to the physical brain, which gave rise to I-consciousness and the faculties of calculation, counting, capacity of judging, the power of forming ideas in general, intelligence (1906-05-26-GA094,1907-06-04-GA099,1908-05-27-GA103)
- Current Postatlantean epoch
- in ancient times the largest part of the population did not at all feel themselves as having an individual I as Man does today, instead Man did not say I to himself but to his tribal or subracial group (1913-05-28-GA146) - see Schema FMC00.370 for positioning of the Krishna impulse for individuation of Man's I
- The consciousness of Man is very much related to the bodily constitution - see also I-organization: the nervous system and the etheric vs the physical heads. In current Man the physical and etheric heads coincide and are very nearly alike in form and size, but this has only been the case since the last third of the Atlantean epoch. Before that, the etheric head protruded far beyond the physical. The two grew together by the drawing together of a point in the brain near the eyes in both the physical and etheric heads, which gave rise of the consciousness soul and cause Man to say 'I' to himself.
- See the Krishna impulse (and The being of Elijah) for the transition and development of Man's sentient and intellectual soul.
- 'not all reach the goal': the different cohorts arising in the overall population, based on how the impulses of each consecutive age are absorbed by the I, and the soul constitution and poisoneous phantom that gets created in individuals who do not correctly undergo and assimilate the workings of what the age poses as offerings and challenges (1917-01-01-GA174B and Schema FMC00.233 below)
- impact on tendencies and diseases of the culture in our age or the zeitgeist (oa 1918-05-04-GA174A)
- disorders that ripple through to the other bodily principles as a result of the suboptimal developed I (1917-01-14-GA174 combined with 1917-01-01-GA174B )
- see also Sixteen paths of perdition
- Sibyls as an example of disorders in the development of the I, see coverage on Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ (as the MoG countered this threath).
- another threath by the counterforces was the Soratic impulse in the year 666 known as the Academy of Gondishapur, to deliberately unbalance humanity's development of the consciousness soul in the cultural age of the intellectual soul. Although it was countered, it still has its aftereffects in the oriental spiritual stream coming from the arabic culture.
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.
Schema FMC00.046 depicts how the Spirits of Form (known in the bible as Elohim) sacrificed the lowest member of their being and how that rippled into the structure of Man in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs, thereby laying the foundations of the I. It follows the metaphoric imagery of the sponge and the dropplets.
Schema FMC00.472 illustrates the relationship of Man to the third hierarchy of angels, archangels and archai, and the Spirits of Form. The concept diagram provides links to various processes on other topic pages through the Schema references given.
See oa: Man's bodily principles, Jehovah, Group souls of humanity, Monad, Three meetings, Structure of Man between death and a new birth, Man's transformation and spiritualization
Schema FMC00.472A illustrates the roles of the hierarchies contributing the development of the Human I. The descent of the monads with the first divine impulse by the Jehovah beings led to the fusion of higher astral and lower astral and the development of the human group souls and sentient soul. The image can be a support to contemplate the role of the beings of the third hierarchy on this process, especially angels and archangels (but also luciferic beings). For a start see for example 1906-01-06/07-GA262. A different aspect is the role of the archai in the later stage of development.
Schema FMC00.428 illustrates the I as the center or cardinal point of two opposing streams of Jehovah (Spirits of Form) and Lucifer. The Jehovah SoF impulse infused love into Man's physical blood from below, the Luciferic influence brought Man's freedom and egoism from above. Both influences were first subconscious, and mature to full consciousness only with the maturing of Man's threefold soul. The Christ Impulse brought about a shift, see Schema FMC00.428A.
Schema FMC00.428A adds the explanation from Rudolf Steiner's narrative in the sources listed, against the background of Schema FMC00.428.
It shows how "the Christ Impulse triggered a reversal of the influences of the two crossing streams", and gave Man independence in love and allowed for a spiritualization of love, as love without true freedom is not love.
Note: all texts originate from the GA244 sources listed, but were aggregated into a single schema explanation.
FMC00.246 shows how the evolutionary forces of Spirits of Form (SoF) enabling the faculties of Walking, Speaking, Thinking, were brought into harmony through Christ impulse in the three pre-MoG interventions of the Christ. See also 1914-03-07-GA152.
Schema FMC00.443 show a rare and actually exceptional description by Rudolf Steiner, in which he calls the lower bodily structure the 'hollow I' and Man's spiritual I (see Man's higher triad) the 'substantial I'. The descent in the Lemurian epoch is described. The use of the term 'hollow I' is remarkable because the recipient cavity for the I was first in the astral body, and hence the use of the term 'I' is peculiar.
Note for the Schema, the choice was made for a literal translation focusing on the correct technical meaning in the German original of the different Q&As, rather than the polished English translation in the translated volume GA284 which is also less complete.
Schema FMC00.233 shows the development of the 'I' on the left, centered in the Atlantean epoch although it really starts in the middle of the Lemurian epoch and lasts upto the current cultural age of the current fifth Postatlantean or Aryan epoch.
In the middle the '16 paths of perdition' mapped to this development (based on Heindel). If one considers a Gaussian distribution curve there is always a part ahead on the right, and a part lagging on the left. Hence, over the cultural ages part of the total population of souls will be lagging and just not reach the stages of the mainstream.
On the right: in the current fifth epoch 'Humanity is getting younger' and the sixth 'russian' cultural age (approx. ) is the one where a (small) subselection of humanity will have sufficiently advanced to make up the cohort that will be the basis for the next great Sixth epoch (dark blue).
Schema FMC00.233A is a horizontal timeline variant of Schema FMC00.233 focusing on the I-development.
It shows at the bottom the two interpretations of the apostles as representatives of the cultural ages on the Last Supper painting by Da Vinci. See Holy Supper symbolism - apostles.
- Option A is the most common version, certainly with regards to the figures of John, Peter, Judas etc. see FMC00.020 and FMC00.021A. However it does also raise questions such as a) why does it stop in the second age of the Sixth epoch, and b) what is happening on the painting on the left of Christ with Peter and Judas and the famous hand and knife.
- Option B is different and has a (different) underlying rationale (also) based on statements in certain lectures. The resulting schema for Option B then correlates regarding the end goal in the Sixth epoch with Schema FMC00.373A or FMC00.373B on Christ in the future cultural ages and next epochs (as well as with the statement in 1909-05-21-GA104A that the spiritualization will happen in the fourth, fifth and sixth ages of that epoch). The outer left apostle rises, is upright. When reading the interpretation of the apostles (rectangles on the schema represent the triads on the painting), one notices that sequence number 8 below maps to the Judas figure (Schema FMC00.373 mentions evil comes to power in that second age of the sixth epoch) whereas John maps as sequence number 6 to the golden sixth cultural age of the current epoch.
Schema FMC00.047 shows that, after a transition and changes with a hardening of earth and the human physical body, we have a recapitulation in the current Postatlantean epoch whereby the 'I' now has the physical and etheric bodily structure to develop it's autonomous self-consciousness.
As per Schema FMC00.129 on Man's transformation and spiritualization the developmental target for the next sixth epoch is the spirit-self or budhi, hence the seed cohort for starting that sixth epoch will be taken in the next sixth 'russian' cultural age, consisting of a selection of humanity that has reached the expected developmental goal.
FMC00.109 is the illustration of the the human group soul tree concept as was done in the Pythagorean school, also relevant for ancient memory and consciousness. See Group souls of humanity#1908-06-01-GA102.
FMC00.194 shows how during the preceding planetary stages (and recapitulations on Earth), the elements and ethers were created, in a way that the spiritual hierarchies all remain present in the totality of the whole spectrum of elements and ethers. See 1925-01-11-GA026 below.
It makes the link with the thoughts of the archai on Old Saturn in the warmth element. The archai 'carried' this substance upto the Earth planetary stage when it became individualized in Man. (1925-01-11-GA026)
FMC00.147 provides an overview to contemplate how the kingdoms of nature on Earth originate in previous evolutionary stages. The right column illustrates 1925-01-11-GA026 below.
FMC00.338 shows the effects of disorders in the human bodily constitution, if Man's bodily principles are not in balanced cohesion.
On the left: the I-organization in a healthy balanced constitution, with the I imprints that on astral body through the nervous system, then down the astral body on the etheric body, at various points of contact in the physical body. If these imprints, for reasons of incorrect or unbalanced development (see 1917-01-01-GA174B as well as the sixteen paths of perdition in Schema FMC00.233), cause one of the bodily principles to be loosened and released, this leads to various soul diseases as a result.
FMC00.380 shows the polarity during the development of Man's I consciousness, from sentient soul to intellectual soul. Above in the language of the Bhagavad Gita, below in the language of the Grail.
For an explanation see: Enlivened images#1920-05-16-GA201 as well as Human character - the I and threefold soul
Lecture coverage and references
[Monads wanted to descend]
The other beings, however, were striving downward toward the material. They were on the way to bringing their creative powers to bear on increasingly dense material forms. This does not represent a degradation for them in the broader sense of the term. One must be quite clear on this point.
It requires a higher power and capacity to direct denser forms of substantiality than to control those less dense. In earlier periods of their development, these higher beings too had had a limited power like that of man today. Like present-day man, they once had power only over what took place “within them.” At that time, coarse, external matter did not obey them. Now they were striving toward a condition in which they were to direct outer events magically. Thus they were ahead of man in the period described.
Man strove upward in order that he might first embody the understanding in more refined matter, so that later it could act toward the external; they had already incorporated the understanding into themselves at an earlier period, and now received magic power in order to articulate the understanding into the world around them. Man was moving upward through the stage of the fire mist; they were penetrating downward through the same stage, toward an extension of their power.
Those forces especially, which man knows as the forces of his lower passions or impulses, can be active in the fire mist. Man, as well as the higher beings, makes use of these forces at the stage of the fire mist. These forces act in such a way within the human form described above that man can develop the organs which enable him to think, and thus to develop a personality. On the other hand, these forces work in the higher beings at this stage in such a manner that they can employ them impersonally to create the arrangements of the earth. In this way, forms which are images of the rules of the understanding, come into existence on earth through these beings. Through the action of the forces of passion, organs of personal understanding develop in man; through the same forces, organizations filled with wisdom develop around him.
then is described how the separation of Moon leads to a cooler environment with denser substance and no more fire mist. The resulting influences cause a transformation of the human form, Man becomes upright and two halves under dual leadership of regular 'moon gods' (SoF, Jehovah) and the Luciferic influences.
See: Separation of Moon#1904-GA011
see full quote relevant in this context (descent of the monads or sons of manas in the Lemurian epoch, and creation of the double astral body and double structure of Man)
Human astral body#1905-10-16-GA093A
see full lecture for a description of the descent of the monad and the beginning of Man's higher triad in the Lemurian epoch
We know that we live in three worlds, in the physical, astral and spirit worlds and that our existence changes between these three worlds. We have within us an inner kernel of being which we call the monad. We retain this kernel throughout the three worlds. It lives within us in the physical world, but also in the astral and spirit worlds. This inner kernel, however, is always clad in a different garment. In the physical, astral and spirit worlds the garment of our kernel-of-being is different.
We must learn to know Man as a duality: as the monad and what clothes the monad. We ask: How has the one and how has the other arisen? Where did the astral man live before he became what he is today and where did the monad live? Both have gone through different stages of development, both have gradually reached the point of being able to unite.
[and later, see full lecture text]
Meanwhile in the upper region the opposite evolutionary processes have taken place. The monad has descended from the highest regions of the spirit world into the astral region and in the course of this descent has become denser. Now the two parts approach each other. From the one side man ascends as far as the astral body, from the other side it is met by the monad on its descent into the astral world. This was in the Lemurian epoch. Thus they could mutually fructify each other. The monad had clothed itself with devachanic substance, then again with astral airy substance. From below upwards we have the physical substance, then the etheric substance, then again astral substance. So both astral substances fructify one another and, as it were, melt into one another. What comes from above has the monad within it. As though into a bed, it sinks itself into the astral substance.
This is how the descent of the soul takes place. But in order that it can happen the monad must develop a thirst to know the lower regions. This thirst must be taken for granted. As monad one can only learn to know the lower regions by incarnating in the human body and by its means looking out into the surrounding world. Man now consists of four members. Firstly he has a physical body, secondly an etheric body, thirdly an astral body and within this as fourth member of the I, the monad.
After the four-fold organism has come into being the monad can look through it into the environment and a relationship is established between the monad and everything that is in the surroundings. Through this the thirst of the monad is partially assuaged.
also here: Luciferic beings and their influences#1906-01-06.2F07-GA262
- As the beings from Venus establish the separate sexes, similarly they cause the intellect to become fruitful. It receives half the productive faculties saved from the sexual powers. For this reason the monads — their manas element in the first instance — which developed during the Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon stages, can descend into the organ of the intellect.
- The work of the monads would have remained cold and dry, however, if the astral body had not received an element which resulted in the human being using his intellect with a certain higher passion. This element was given to the human being from Mars. And the beings who transmitted it are the luciferic beings. Although they progressed beyond the stage of later human Earth existence, they did not reach the stage of concluding their Old Moon development with the manvantara of Old Moon, as the Lunar-Pitris were able to do. As initiates they now carry the astral forces from Mars into the astral body of the human being and thus fan within him the passion for using his intellect. In this way they vitalise the knowledge of human beings; they arouse them to independence. This is the aid to human development given by the luciferic principle.
- During the Earth development of the human being it is the 'Spirits of Form' who are in this position. They are therefore the creators of earthly human beings. And insofar as they are in this position, 'Jehovah' is their representative. So since the mid-point of Earth development the human being deals with:
- 1. His creators, the Spirits of Form, who lent him his earthly form.
- 2. The Spirits of Fire [editor: archangels], who gave his astral body its sensual emotions. [editor: Venus-beings are referenced here]
- 3. The Lunar-Pitris, who gave to this astral body its earthly knowledge. And lastly,
- 4. himself, living as 'I' in the consciousness soul.
The action of the spirits of fire takes place in the second half of the Lemurian epoch, along with the work of the Lunar-Pitris.
Then during the 5th sub-race of the Atlantean epoch the human being begins to develop into an independent 'I'.
Within this progression the Lunar-Pitris who have not completed their development (b) work differently from those who have (a).
- The latter (a) imbue the astral body perfectly with the Mercury element from without, but
- the former (b) still have to perfect themselves with the things which are developing in Man. Their own being is therefore within the human being. In this way they are the luciferic principle.
Note: lunar pitris went through the 'human stage' or condition of consciousness level CoC=4 on Old Moon, thereby weaving the soul element or astral body onto Man's bodily structure (see Old Moon#1911-06-07-GA015)
You know that the Lunar-Pitris, that is, the beings who are one stage ahead of human beings, have to advance their existence on Old Moon to a level which is analogous to the stage of human existence on Earth.
Let us now consider for one moment the half-way stage of Earth development. You know that at that point the human being is under the influence of Mars and Mercury and strives towards his 'Jupiter existence' as one strives towards an ideal.
Of the three members of the astral body, the sentient soul, intellectual soul and consciousness soul, the human being brings only the first, the sentient soul, with him from Old Moon.
The intellectual soul comes from the influence of Mars and the intellectual soul [probably: consciousness soul] from the influence of Mercury.'
The consciousness soul can only unfold because the forces which will later be developed fully on Future Jupiter already throw their shadow ahead, as it were. The consequence of this Shadow is the development of the consciousness soul which thereby can become the vehicle for spirit-self, as described in my book 'Theosophy'.
The frontal part of the human head began to develop in the European races which followed those of Atlantis. The focus-point of consciousness in the Atlanteans lay outside the brow, in the etheric head. Today it lies within the physical head, a little higher than the nose.
The ‘I’ of the Aryan race could only be consciously realised when the etheric body was centralised in the physical brain. Not until then could man begin to say: ‘I.’ The Atlanteans spoke of themselves in the third person.
Going a long way back in human history we come to a time we call the Lemurian age. As you know we go back through Atlantean times to the Lemurian age.
There we find the fourfold human being who we may say was half animal, a human being who did have four bodies—physical body, ether body, astral body and the potential for an I—but was not yet in a position to do any work on the three outer bodies. For the power human beings need to work on their outer bodies in die above-mentioned way first had to enter into those vessels for man's true essential nature. The I as you know it today, veiling your soul, your deepest nature which already contains as much of the three outer bodies as has been transformed—this did not yet exist then, it was still waiting to enter into the process of evolution. The I was still a hollow space that would receive what today is our deepest, inmost part, our immortal part, as we call it, that goes through all incamations and can go with the earth when it enters into a different planetary existence. This came down into the human vessel at that time. Before, it had been in the keeping of the godhead, part of divine nature.
[Image of drops in glass of water poored into tiny little sponges]
On a previous occasion I gave you a picture for the way man was ensouled at that time, with the divine droplet poured into each individual human vessel. I then said that one might take a glass of water—many drops are in it, a mass of fluid. We might then take a thousand tiny little sponges and let each absorb one drop of water. We have then taken many drops from the glass, and something which had been united in the glass has then been distributed among all the small sponges. Something which is now in us and had previously been in the keeping of the godhead as in an element where everything flowed into one, distributed itself at that time among the individual human bodies, so that today each has a drop of this one divine substance in it. This element, which until then had been part of general divine nature, thus became individualized.
Just as my ten fingern are part of my organism, so are the souls which are in human bodies today part of the godhead. And just as every finger would become individualized, every finger would receive a life of its own if it were to surround itself with other outer elements, so did the drops resting in the keeping of the godhead become human inner natures.
full lecture available on: Guided study approach to Christ
Going far back into Lemurian times we would see people walk about on the earth who were very different from people today, figures we should not yet call human, for they did not yet have the seed of the human soul in them which alone would enable them to rise to higher levels of development. We would find people there who only had the bodies that envelop the soul, people who had only a physical body, ether body and astral body. And their astral bodies had a depression, a kind of bay, in them—figuratively speaking—for the reception of self awareness. Essentially the four parts of the enveloping human form were already there, but the principle you call 'I' today, a principle that lives in you, was still in the keeping of the godhead then.
Figures were thus walking about on this earth. To describe those human figures that were ready to receive the core of essential human nature, I'd have to say they were completely different from today's human beings. You would think them to be utterly grotesque, going to the very limits of ugliness. Where today's human beings have air all around them, those human 'casings' were surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere. They were surrounded by a spiritual sphere of air in which they were alive and active.
To give you a diagram of the human beings of that time, I'd have to draw them like vessels, as it were, vessels ready to receive the higher soul quality into themselves (Fig. 20).
The inner space is meant to be a hollow made in the astral body and this is ready to receive a higher soul quality into itself. That higher soul element was still in the surrounding atmosphere, the layer of spiritual air. Something which today is inside you was not yet inside human beings at that time, but moved around them. You have to understand, of course, that the spirit can assume different forms and that the element which was then your spirit did not need a physical body. Further development actually consisted in the human spirit coming to dwell in a physical body where it developed further inwardly as soul. Something which today lives in you was then living outside you, in the spiritual atmosphere that was around you. At that time, the individual souls which today live in separate bodies were not yet separate and individual.
[Image of droplets of water versus uniform atmosphere]
Let us think of this glass of water containing thousands of droplets, all connected with each other. All the souls which were later to be distributed among human beings were like this, soul drops in this spiritual atmosphere, but as though dissolved to make a uniform, fluid element.
And you may go on and image this: if I were to take a thousand tiny sponges and let them absorb a thousand drops, those thousand drops would then be distributed among the thousand tiny sponges.
That is how you should think of the way the spiritual principle was distributed in Lemurian times. Having been all around an the outside before, this principle then came down into the bodies and separate entities were created. Just as the thousand droplets of water would be individualized in the thousand tiny sponges, so was the communal spiritual substance individualized in the separate human forms in Lemuria. At the beginning of the Lemurian age, every human form did not immediately receive the soul fully into itself. To show the way the soul content was received in my diagram, I'd have to do it like this (Fig. 20). I'd also have to show, however, that much of it remained outside the body, in the surrounding area. The body was thus surrounded by a spiritual content that was of the same kind as the part that was already inside the human form.
Evolution for the Lemurian and Atlantean periods and into our time meant that the element that was outside the physical body was gradually drawn into the body. This happened throughout the Lemurian and the whole of the Atlantean age. You have to imagine that human beings were in a permanent state of being half asleep and half awake, though they also had a kind of clairvoyance. If someone whose inner eye had been opened could have looked at the human beings of Atlantean times, these would have looked the way someone who is asleep does today. When a human being lies asleep, the physical and etheric body lies in bed, and the higher spiritual content is spread around it. It is exactly because it is outside that the individual falls asleep. You would see an Atlantean in such a permanent state of sleep; yet this would be full of lively dreams.
Just as every human being has his own spirit, is filled with his own spirituality, so for someone who is able to perceive these things, every plant and every material thing is at the same time also an expression of a spiritual entity. And our earth is the body or spiritual expression of the earth spirit. The blood warmth enables the earth spirit to enter into the human being. In the blood warmth which lives in the human being, and in pre-Lemurian times lived outside the human being, we have the medium by which the spirit of the earth enters into the human being himself.
You have to imagine, therefore, that at the time when actual human development began in Lemurian times, the spirit which belonged to the air came down upon human beings, and then the higher spirit began to come down which is in the warmth of the blood, the actual earth spirit. The relationship between these two spirits is such that we may say: 'The spirit which has the air for its body is the one that has made it possible for human beings to gain speech.' For the configuration of the human organism which makes the present-day breathing process possible, also makes speech possible. Speech developed in Atlantean times, and came to its highest expression in the ability to utter the word 'I' towards the end of the Atlantean period.
The process began in Lemurian times and gradually reached perfection towards the end of Atlantean times. The Bible says: 'And the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.' This was gradually perfected until it became the word T, until the spirit began to speak out of the inner human being and began to call itself, out of the inner human being: 'Y-a-h- w-e-h'. That is at the same time the etemal core and essence of every individual human being: 'I am the one I am, the one I was and the one who shall be.' I am' is the deepest inmost core. It came into man at that time and will remain for all etemity as the human being's individual spirit.
This was the first outpouring of the godhead. It is called the outpouring of the spirit, or of Yahweh. In the mythologies of religious peoples, which are always more intelligent than scientific treatises, this outpouring of the spirit or of Yahweh is described as a breath in the air, something that moves over the earth in the air. Ancient German legend, and also Jewish, Hebrew legend, where Yahweh is the god of the tempest or the wind, shows that this is a divinity which has its outer body in the flow of the air and has poured into the human being.
Because of its essential nature this divinity did indeed play a role in human beings becoming individual when it entered into them. The uniform, fluid element which prior to the Flood had been all around humanity on a magnificent scale, was divided up among individual human beings, like the water being absorbed into tiny sponges. But this could not make the human being wholly individual. Human beings had to find the transition to complete individualization. They were not ordained to be complete individuals right away. Initially they formed groups. We have mentioned before that people lived in small tribal groups. They did not as yet feel themselves to be separate individuals. The human individual felt himself to be entirely part of such a tribal group or family, just as a hand is part of the body. Modem people with their very different way of thinking cannot really imagine what it is like to belong to a tribe, feeling oneself part of the tribal body. But that is how it was, and the more the small tribes spread, and the family came to be the tribe, the more individual did people become.
You have to think of this as a process of singling out, of progressively becoming more individual, as bound to the human being's blood.
You can understand it if I tell you one thing, and I would ask you to remember it. The pouring out of the spirit in Lemurian times was not uniform. You would have been able to see many spirits coming down on to the earth from the spiritual surroundings of the earth. Many individual spirits were coming down. Speaking of Yahweh [Jehovah], we are not speaking of a single divinity but the spirits of many nations. The Jews know that it was one of many divinities. Nations were split up into tribes because many such souls of nations—please note that these were something real—were coming down. And the more they developed, the more did they live in families, in tribes, which then came together in large tribal nations.
Whereas in the man of today the etheric head is practically covered by the physical part of the head and only protrudes slightly beyond it, in the old Atlantean the etheric head projected far out beyond the physical head; in particular it projected powerfully in the region of the forehead.
Now we must think of
- a point in the physical brain in the place between the eyebrows, only about a centimetre lower, and
- a second point in the etheric head which would correspond to this.
In the Atlantean these two points were still far apart and evolution consisted precisely in the fact that they continually approached each other. In the fifth Atlantean period the point of the etheric head drew in to the physical brain and by reason of these two points coming together there developed what we possess to-day: calculation, counting, the capacity of judging, the power of forming ideas in general, intelligence.
Formerly the Atlanteans had only an immensely developed memory, but as yet no logical intellect. Here we have the starting point for the consciousness of the “I.” A self-reliant independence did not exist in the Atlantean before these two points coincided, on the other hand he could live in much more intimate contact with nature.
[Lemuria: fructification astral -> sentient soul .. perception]
We will now follow the progress of man on the Earth itself. There one can point to the spot in man where the I was trickled in, but today we will consider it only schematically. Man receives his I. It comes in contact first of course with the astral body which surrounds him like an auric sheath, there the I first flows in, interpenetrates the astral body. This takes place in what we call the Lemurian Age, in the middle of earthly evolution. In the Lemurian Age, in the course of long periods of time, different for each different human being, the I drew into the astral body and fructified it. Let us picture this developing human being.
The physical body at that time did not consist of flesh and blood as it does today; it was a quite soft structure, even without cartilage, and was penetrated as if by magnetic currents. Then there was the etheric body and then the astral body which was fructified by the I.
We must imagine this fructification as being something like an indentation which occurred in the astral body, like a turned-in aperture. That is what actually took place, something like an opening arose at the top of the astral body through the inflowing of the I, an opening as far as to the etheric body. (Fig. 1.) This was of great significance and produced an important result; the consequence was that the first dim perception of a physical outer world appeared. In earlier conditions man had perceived nothing but that which lived in him inwardly; he was as if hermetically sealed towards the outside. He was aware only of himself and what went on in him internally. Now for the first time there opened to him the sight of a physical outer world. But man was not yet quite independent, much was still regulated for him by other divine beings with whom he stood in connection. He could not immediately see all that was around him, as we do now; since only his astral body was opened he perceived only with that body. It was a quite dim clairvoyance, and when in this ancient primeval time the human being moved over the earth he perceived what was outside his body, he perceived if this were sympathetic or unsympathetic, beneficent or harmful.
- He perceived a color picture when he so moved about, a glaring-red, for instance, that arose as an auric color-picture, for it was his astral body that first opened. He knew that when a red picture appeared there was a being in the neighborhood that was dangerous to him.
- If a blue-red color met him, he knew that he could go towards it; thus he took his direction from these dim clairvoyant perceptions.
- He perceived only the soul elements, he could not perceive, for instance, what is present in the plants of today. He perceived only the soul-nature in the other human beings and in the animals, and the Group-souls, too. That was the first fertilizing with the I.
The I was gradually further developed and the fructifying element that entered the astral body began to permeate it more deeply so that the I was increasingly present in the feelings of likes and dislikes. According as the I expanded in this way in the astral body there arose what has been called in the book Theosophy the sentient soul. It is as if the fructifying I spread its forces over the whole astral body, thereby producing the sentient soul. Here we still have to incorporate an important fact.
[Wisdom Manas SoF around us everywhere]
Since, however, the Spirits of Form have given up their I, letting it trickle down into man, we are surrounded everywhere by these beings whose lowest member is of a Manasic nature, the spirit-self. If we want to seek in our surroundings for these Spirits of Form, for their lowest member, then we find it in that which we ourselves gradually develop as our fifth member. What we develop as human wisdom by which we must become wiser and wiser, that we should find manifested in our surroundings as the lowest member of the Spirits of Form. We have indeed often spoken of this.
.. regarding the external bodily appearance of our Atlantean forefathers. We have seen that the physical body, visible now to the external human sense organs, only slowly and gradually reached the present density of flesh which it now possesses. We said that not until the last part of the Atlantean period did men bear some resemblance to their present form.
Even toward the last third of the Atlantean period they were still essentially very different creatures from the men of today, although to the external senses they appeared much the same. ...
.. You must not imagine that only what is physical exists in the physical world. It would be a great mistake if you were to seek all that is etheric or in fact all that is astral only in the super-sensible world. It is true you can see only what is physical with the physical senses in the physical world, but that is not because only what is physical exists here. No, the ether and astral bodies of the animals are present in the physical world and the clairvoyantly endowed person can see them. It is only when he wishes to reach the real I of the animal that he can no longer remain in the physical world; he must then mount into the astral regions. There the group-soul or group-I of the animals is to be found and the difference between the human being and the animal consists in the I of the former also being present here below in the physical world. This means that here in the physical world, the human creature consists of a physical, ether and astral body and an I, although the three higher members, from the ether body upwards, are only perceptible to clairvoyant consciousness. This difference between the human being and the animal is expressed clairvoyantly in a certain way.
Let us suppose that a person endowed with clairvoyance is observing a horse and a man.
- Extending beyond the horse's head, which is lengthened out to a muzzle, he finds an etheric appendage. This etheric head protrudes beyond the physical head of the horse and is magnificently organized; these two do not coincide in the horse.
- But he finds that in the human being of the present, the etheric head corresponds almost exactly in form and size to the physical.
- Clairvoyantly observed, the elephant makes an extremely grotesque appearance with its extraordinarily huge etheric head; it is, indeed, etherically a very grotesque animal.
[The Atlantean head]
In the human beings of the present, the physical and etheric heads coincide and in form and size they are very nearly alike. This, however, has not always been the case. We find it so only in the last third of the Atlantean period.
The ancient Atlanteans' etheric head protruded far beyond his physical head, then by degrees these two grew together and it was in the last third of the Atlantean period that the physical and the etheric heads exactly coincided. In the brain, near the eyes, there is a point which coincides with a very definite point in the etheric head. These points were apart in ancient times; the etheric point was outside of the brain. These two important points have drawn together and only when this occurred did the human being learn to say “I” to himself. Then appeared what we yesterday called the “Consciousness Soul.”
Through the coincidence of the etheric and physical heads, the appearance of the human head changed very greatly, for the head of the ancient Atlantean was still very different in appearance from the head of present human beings.
longer extract on Yuga ages
Accordingly, in the sense first spoken of, Kali Yuga began approximately in the year 3101 B.C. Thus we realise that our souls have appeared repeatedly on the earth in new incarnations, in the course of which man's vision has been more and more shut off from the spiritual world and therefore increasingly restricted to the outer world of the senses. We realise, too, that with every incarnation our souls enter into new conditions in which there are always new things to be learnt. What we can achieve in Kali Yuga is to establish and consolidate our I-consciousness. This was not previously possible, for we had first to be endowed with the I.
If in some incarnation souls have failed to take in what that particular epoch has to give, it is very difficult for the loss to be made good in later epochs. Such souls must wait a long time until the loss can in some respect be counterbalanced. But no reliance should be placed upon such a possibility.
We know that the old clairvoyance was in a sense bound up with external blood relationship. The flowing of the same blood in the veins of a number of people was rightly looked upon as something sacred in ancient times because with it was connected the ancient perception of a particular group-soul. Those who not only felt but knew their blood-relationship to one another did not yet have such an I as lives in men of the present time. Wherever we look in those ancient times we find everywhere groups of people who did not at all feel themselves as having an individual I as Man does today. Each felt his identity only in the group, in a community based upon the blood-bond.
What does the folk-soul, the nation-soul, signify to a Man today? Certainly it is often an object of the greatest enthusiasm. Yet we may say that, compared with the individual I of a Man, this nation-soul does not really count. This may be a hard saying but it is true. Once upon a time man did not say I to himself but to his tribal or racial group.
[A balanced healthy balanced constitution]
When the I has been, shall we say, `lifted out' of the physical body, when it has passed through the portal of death, the physical body has no real life any longer, but becomes a corpse. In a similar way, under certain conditions, these projections cannot live in a proper way either.
- For instance the I projection — that is, a certain quality of the blood — cannot be present in a proper way in the human organism if the I is not properly fostered. To turn the physical body into a corpse it is, of course, necessary for the I to depart entirely from the physical body.
- But the blood can go a quarter of the way towards becoming a corpse if you prevent it from being permeated with what ought to live in the I, so that it can work in the right manner of soul and spirit on the blood.
You will gather from this that is possible to bring disorder into man's soul in such a way that the right influences cannot be brought to bear on the blood nature, the blood substance. That is then the point when the blood can change into a poisonous substance — not entirely, for in that case the person would die, but in part.
The human physical body is abandoned to destruction if the I departs from it, and in a similar way the blood is brought into a state of ill health — even if this is not necessarily noticeable — if the I is not fostered and interwoven with the right care.
So when is the ego not fostered and interwoven with the right care?
This is the case under certain quite definite circumstances. Let us look for the moment at the Postatlantean period. We see that as human evolution proceeds, certain definite capacities, certain definite impulses are developed in each succeeding cultural epoch. It is impossible to imagine people living in the ancient Indian period having a condition of soul development similar to ours. From cultural age to age , as human beings pass through succeeding incarnations on earth, different impulses are needed for the human soul.
Let me draw you a diagram. Imagine this to be the main actual physical body, the one that has to be filled with all the higher components of human nature in order to be a physical body at all.
Of all these higher components, I shall deal solely with the I, though I could deal with all three.
- The shading here indicates that the physical body is permeated by the I. So, in a way, the other projections also have to be permeated.
- Here let me indicate the projection of the etheric body, which is for the most part anchored in the human being's glandular system; for this, too, has to be permeated and inter-woven.
- Thirdly, let me indicate what is anchored chiefly in the nervous system. This, again, in a certain way, must be interwoven with the workings of the I.
- And the I body itself — this, too, has to be interwoven in the proper way.
As I said just now, as man passes through succeeding periods of evolution he has to step into different developmental impulses with each period. He has to absorb whatever the contemporary age requires him to take in.
- In the first cultural age in the current epoch, ancient India, impulses of soul and spirit had to be absorbed which enabled the etheric body to be developed;
- in the next age, ancient Persia, the astral body was developed;
- in the age of Egypt and Chaldea it was the turn of the sentient soul;
- in the Greco-Latin age, the intellectual or mind soul;
- and today, the consciousness soul.
Whether the human being absorbs in the right way whatever is suitable for the age in which he is living will depend on whether he has properly entered into all these bodily principles — just as the physical body is permeated by the higher components of his being — so that they absorb what the age requires.
Suppose an individual during the fifth Postatlantean cultural age were to resist absorbing anything of what ought to be absorbed during this period; suppose he were to reject everything which could cultivate his soul in the manner required by the fifth Postatlantean cultural age. What would be the consequence?
His bodily nature cannot revert to an earlier state if he belongs to that part of mankind which is called upon at present to absorb the impulses of the fifth cultural age. Not everyone is called upon at the same time, but at present all the white races are called upon to absorb the culture of the fifth post-Atlantean period. Now suppose an individual were to resist this.
A certain member of his bodily nature — above all, the blood — would remain void of all that could be taken in, were he not to put up this resistance. This member of his bodily nature would then lack what ought to permeate its substance and its forces. This substance and the forces living in it —though not to a degree comparable to bodily death brought about by the departure of the I — would then become sick in its life forces, which become degraded so that man bears them as a poison within him.
Thus to remain behind in evolution means that man impregnates his being with a kind of formative phantom which is poisonous.
On the other hand, if he were to absorb what his cultural impulses require him to absorb, the state of his soul would be such that he could dissolve this poisonous phantom he bears within him.
By failing to do so, he allows this phantom to coagulate and become a part of his body. This is the source of all the sicknesses of civilization, the cultural decadence, all the emptiness of soul, the states of hypochondria, the eccentricities, the dissatisfactions, the crankinesses and so on, and also of all those instincts which attack culture, which are aggressive and antagonistic towards cultural impulses.
Either the individual accepts the culture of his age, and fits in with it, or he develops the corresponding poison which deposits itself within him and can only be dissolved if he does accept the culture. But if the poison is allowed to become deposited, it leads to the development of instincts which are opposed to the culture of the age. The working of a poison is also always an aggressive instinct.
Human beings acquire poison, sometimes in a very concentrated form, if they refuse to accept what could dissolve such poison.
Nowadays, untold people refuse to accept spiritual life in the form fitting for today, which we have been endeavouring to describe for such a long time, more recently even in public.
In such people, the lotus flower here [on the forehead) reveals very clearly what occurs in these cases, for the effects reach right into the realm of warmth, and such people leap up like flames against anything in the world around them which happens to reveal something that could bring healing to our times. Certainly, Mephistopheles, the devil, is abroad amongst us; but the development of even a small beginning — tiny flames stirring — starts when we refuse to accept something that is fitting for our time, so that we do not dissolve the poison but make it into a partial corpse and allow it to coagulate in our organism as a phantom of formative forces.
If you think this through properly, you will discover the cause of many dissatisfactions in life. For those who bear such a poisonous phantom within them are unhappy indeed. We would call these people nervous, or neurasthenic; but it can also make them cruel, quarrel-some, monists, materialists, for these characteristics are the result, more often than we might think, of physiological causes brought about by the poison being deposited in the human organism instead of being assimilated.
You will see from all this that there belongs to the overall balance of the world in which we are embedded a kind of unstable equilibrium between what is good and right on the one hand, and its opposite, the effects of poisons, on the other.
If it is to be possible for what is good and right to come about, then it must also be possible to err from what is right, for poisons to have their effect.
If we now apply this to the wider situation, we see that it must be possible today for people to attain to some degree of spiritual life, to develop within themselves impulses for a free, inner spiritual life.
To make it possible for the individual to attain to a life of the spirit, the opposite must also exist, namely a corresponding possibility to err along the path of grey or black magic. Without the one, the other is not possible. Just as you, as a human being, cannot maintain yourself without the firm foundation of the earth beneath your feet, so it is not possible for the illumination of spiritual life to be pursued without die resistance which must be permitted to exist and which is inevitable for the higher realms of life.
This is something I wanted to place in your soul today, for on this basis much can be understood. There has to exist the possibility for what is spiritual, but also for die deposition of the poison which is its polar opposite. And if it can be deposited then it can also be used — it can be utilized in every realm.
Many questions could be asked about this, but today we shall deal with only one:
How can we find our way through the maze? Is there not a very great danger that anything we approach in the world might contain the polar opposite, namely the poison, or at least that some-body or other might seek to make something poisonous out of it?
Of course there is always this possibility. Everything that is potentially very good can also be perverted and become the opposite. This must be the case in order that human evolution can take its course in freedom in accordance with the present cultural age. Indeed, the very best evolutionary impulses in our age are those most likely to be turned into their opposite.
This is valid for social life as well as for the human organism. In lectures given here last year, we saw that in the present age, to start with only germinally, the capacity is beginning to develop which will enable us to create a life of Imaginations — to develop thoughts which rise up freely — though so far this possibility is denied by materialists. However, it lies in the very nature of our present age that a life of Imagination must develop little by little.
What is the counter-image of a life of Imagination?
The counter-image of Imaginative life is fabrication, the creation of fabrications about reality and a corresponding thoughtlessness in alleging this or that. I have often described it in these lectures as an inattentiveness to truth, to what is actual and real.
The most wonderful thing with which mankind is presented in the fifth cultural age is the gradual ascent from mere one-sided intellectual life into Imaginative life, which is the first step into the spiritual world.
This can err and become untruthfulness, the fabrication of untruths in relation to reality. I am not, of course, referring to poetry, which is entirely justified, but to fabrication with regard to what is real.'
Another element which must come into being during the present age — we have discussed this here, too — is a form of thinking that is particularly conscientious and aware of its responsibility. When you see what anthroposophical spiritual science has to offer, you cannot but admit that, to understand what is said, sharply delineated thoughts are needed, thoughts which are imbued with the will to pursue reality in an objective way. Clear thinking is certainly necessary if our teachings — if I may call them that — are to be understood. Above all, what is needed are not fleeting thoughts, but a certain quietness of thought. We must work towards achieving this kind of thinking.
characteristics of contemporary tendencies in the development of the I, and Thinking Feeling Willing
- narrow-mindedness in thinking
- philistinism in feeling
- clumsiness in willing
[dictionary: 'philistinism is the tendency to generalize, the tendency to wrap one's own moral horizon around humanity as a moral protective cordon']
1925-01-11-GA026 (LT 144)
- see Schemas FMC00.194 and FMC00.147 above.
The elementary realm of Man is that part of the will-substance of the Thrones, which has not been condensed into the elements of air, water and earth, but has preserved itself and developed further in soul-spiritual form.
It was the thought-force of the archai during the Old Saturn evolution, and it continued to live in the archai as their soul force during the Old Sun and the Old Moon evolutions, with a consciousness that became gradually clearer.
Today, to a certain extent, it is 'released' by the Archai, for the purpose of achieving an independent conscious existence. That which has been bequeathed by the Thrones in this soul-spiritual form, creates the substance for Man's 'actual self'.
144. Looking back into a human being's repeated lives on Earth, we find three distinct stages.
In a remote past, man did not exist with individuality of being, but as a germ in the divine and spiritual. As we look back into this stage we find not yet a human being but divine-spiritual beings: the archai.
145. This was followed by an intermediate stage. Man existed already with individuality of being, but he was not yet detached from the thinking and willing and being of the divine-spiritual world. At this stage he had not yet his present personality, with which he appears on Earth as a being completely self-possessed, detached from the divine spiritual world.
146. The present condition is the third and latest. Here Man experiences himself in human form and figure, detached from the divine-spiritual world; and he experiences the world as an environment with which he stands face to face, individually and personally. This stage began in Atlantean epoch.
 - Narrative to the Development of the Human I
Suggestion: when you want to study this, start this page in a new browser window, and right click a schema link or other to open in a new tab. That way you don't loose the storyline and can go back to the related materials in the various tabs in your browser window.
Although it is easy to conceptually grasp Man's bodily principles in a simple diagram, this really does not provide any insight to feel oneself into the realities it represents. Therefore this commentary is intended to provide a narrative to try and help bring the concepts to life a bit. Note the real soul work remains with the reader: the below is not to be click-read, but to be studied with contemplation, and meditated upon.
Schemas such as FMC00.472 are intended to support this narrative, as one has to bring together more angles than any single diagram can depict. Just as the other schemas, a drawing says nothing by itself, and even the topic pages talk about 'stuff' like monad, higher triad, etc .. but these remain dry and dead words if we cannot bring them to life in our soul
Just asking a simple question helps to get started (it doesn't matter so much where we get started). How and why does Man reincarnate, what really happens, how come some human beings we see around us on Earth do not? Do we know what really happens in terms of spiritual physiology and substance and process? Such simple questions may test the depth of our understanding beyond the intellectual repeat-knowledge whereby we rehash what we have picked up. To find ways to approach such questions, we need to be able to depict the reality of the concepts, and this requires that we have brought to life the movie that Rudolf Steiner was describing in his many lectures.
The below may come across as over 'over one's head', and maybe even impossible to read or digest, but trust that the flow includes a didactic storyline and represents a tentative form of teaching. It is a different way then Rudolf Steiner lectured and provided us the base materials, it is a different also how eg Maximilian Rebholz tried to teach by the train of thoughts storylines developed in his essays. In this case we use the topic pages and schemas as building blocks to take a pointer and a spotlight, and point to connections and shed a light in various angles to show different perspectives. Whether one experiences this as demanding also depends on how much one 'lives with questions' and is eager to find out more for oneself.
2. A story over three epochs
Jehovah and group souls
Though the story of evolution starts much earlier, a good place to start the film is in the middle of the Lemurian epoch.
What really happened there with the SoF and the Jehovah impulse? It provided for higher astral substance to act as group souls for humanity. Imagine astral group souls of animals, well something like that, as described in the important Group souls of humanity#1908-06-01-GA102. Now this Jehovah impulse was not uniform, as many spirits came down and these provided the basis for the souls of nations and tribes. This is how to understand what is meant with 'Jehovah as group soul for humanity': Jehovah is a large class of spirits. (Group souls of humanity#1907-04-01-GA096). This granuality is important to imagine, as it has to be taken along into the ever further refinement and gradual process of individuation.
- we will not go into how this is carried in the blood relationships, though that is an important additional aspect of study (it is covered elsewhere on this site, for a start see eg Christ Module 4 - Mystery of the Blood)
- to deepen one's imagination of what is meant with 'radiating down' manas, what it means if a spiritual hierarchy uses/projects its lowest member, see 1908-02-29-GA102 describing of this role of the SoF on the different planetary stages. (also sideways, think about how Man uses his lowest physical member on Earth)
As mentioned, the above 1908-06-01-GA102 lecture is important to read, because one really needs to grasp the gradual effect of individuation. How does Man develop his I?
What is it with this Jehovah providing a manas impulse, as Steiner draws with Schema FMC00.185? Well see FMC00.472 (above): the manas is 'radiating down' .. on Earth .. on Man. Man and will be in the process of trying to develop the threefold soul, see Schema FMC00.046, and that takes a while, see Schema FMC00.370 or also Schema FMC00.233A (all shown above). The first step is this is the development of the sentient soul as part of taking hold of the astral body.
The answer of how that took place is provided by FMC00.469: the workings of the Jehovah manas impulse happened during Man's nights in the astral world, so it was a frucification that was not happening during Man's earthly physical reality experience as we know it today. For this one should realize that the consciousness was very different in the period of the mid Lemurian to say mid Atlantean epochs, see eg Schema FMC00.475. This way Man could develop the sentient soul and seeds of manas, see also Structure of Man between death and a new birth#Causal body, the causal body being the scaffold book of lives used for incorporating experiences from earthly incarnations, thus kickstarting the individuation process and providing the first major stage of the process.
Parenthesis: cosmic fusion kitchen
What takes place in the Lemurian epoch is much more complex, and is a fusion of various influences. See Aspects on this current page, or Development of the I#1906-01-06-GA262 for a first statement - and Schema FMC00.472A is an illustration to support this. This rather complex process is described in a multitude of lectures from various angles. Only in one's soul can one put it all together by study and meditation.
As will become clear, the purpose of this text is to bring the reader to contemplate and visualize the spiritual reality as a complex concerted effort in the language of the spiritual hierarchies, who are really the substance of the whole cosmos. See Schema FMC00.305 and Cosmic fractal.
In order to do this, one needs to familiarize oneself with the structure of the spiritiual beings higher than Man, ànd their evolution and the processes in the cycles of evolution.
The hope of this text is that this way of reasoning helps the reader to 'bind together' the multitude of statements about complex evolutionary processes such as the development of the human I, and can form an aid to contemplate and meditate, so as to build an imaginative picture in one's own mind.
Individuation and the third hierarchy
We can imagine to break off little pieces that slowly detach and come loose from the group soul cloud, by which it fragments down, also as a gradual process with different levels of clustering or granularity. For example, Man stays connected to the Folk souls at archangelic level.
Schema FMC00.132 illustrates this from a different perspective (structure of Man between death and a new birth). The topic of the Three meetings illustrates it differently again (traction/connection with H3 during incarnate life). Other angles are the famous lecture 'the work of the angel in Man's astral body' Third Hierarchy#1918-10-09-GA182 and Third Hierarchy#Food for archai. Yet another way, see Schema FMC00.131 on Man and the spiritual hierarchies
In other words, this brings us to feel our way into the fact that the Third Hierarchy really 'carries' our higher bodily principles, Man's higher triad.
Because one can wonder about Man's higher triad, and 'the Monad that descends' in the Lemurian epoch .. what is meant by that statement Monad? And how do the Spirits of Form relate to the scaffold of the higher triad that was created in previous planetary stages of evolution? We come back to that question a bit later.
The scaffold for Man's higher triad was created in the later Conditions of Life in the planetary stages of evolution Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. We refer to, for example the process on Old Saturn, what is happening in CoL=7 on the right of Schema FMC00.199 or better Schema FMC00.413. It's also shown, though not as clearly, it just appears, on Schema FMC00.414 and Schema FMC00.276 on Overview of solar system evolution. But so how or where, what do we have to imagine?
- we will not go into how during the process of individuation, the I moulds the lower bodies, starting from the astral and etheric down to the physical body. This is how the bull, lion, eagle, and Man group souls lead to the variants of the current form of Man and the human races.
The role of the archai, and the consciousness soul
Now if the hierarchies carry, make up, our bodily principles (all of them woven together, see Cosmic fractal), then we also can position the I being carried in the bosom of the archai, as is described by 1925-01-11-GA026 (LT 144) - see above.
Indeed see FMC00.472 and look at the lowest dot in the structure of the Archai, that is exactly what is meant. That dot is at the height of the I of Man on the left, the Archai carried the I in their bosom, then release it during the process of individuation. It is made up of warmth substance provided originally by the Thrones on Old Saturn, but evolved since (see LT144 above), for a visual to meditate on what is meant with the fact that Man's I lives in the warmth element, see FMC00.194
And now what happens in the middle of a planetary stage of evolution - see The two halves of an evolutionary cycle, and eg what is said in The two halves of an evolutionary cycle#1912-06-20-GA133. Man is set free, as the outbreathing creation stops, and what is happening (oa creation by Man) is breathed in again (to be breathed out in the next cycle). This is what is meant with Meaning of Free Man Creator, and seeds for future worlds.
Now study Transition between 4th and 14th century .. where the hierarchies graduate, pass the baton, move up one level. This is a key event and stage also for Man's I-development. From Transition between 4th and 14th century#1923-03-16-GA283
What is really implied here? What am I trying to point out so intensely?
It is the fact that human beings feel themselves more and more in their individuality. As the world of thoughts passes from the SoF to the Archai, Man increasingly senses the thoughts in his own being, because the Archai live one level nearer Man than the SoF.
That the consciousness soul is key and the true spiritual I can be sensed from FMC00.431, see the bottom part of this schema, and imagine a semi-permeable membrane that provides osmosis of the spiritual into Man's soul, see Human character - the I and threefold soul.
Or with a literal quote: "in the consciousness-soul, which is the actual I-soul, integrated the spirit-self or manas .. only in the consciousness soul do we have the first announcement of the self-conscious I. Only then does what is called the fifth part of the human being, the spirit self or manas, gradually appear in the human being. (from Group souls of humanity#1907-12-27-GA101).
Again, another way to view it's importance is with FMC00.468.
Man is only truly and fully ‘set free’ in the current epoch and current cultural age of the consciousness soul, Man's true I.
Monad? what, where
So where sits Man's monad scaffold developed in the three previous planetary stages of evolution? It is 'carried' along by the spiritual hierarchies, and worked continuously, and only released at a certain stage of individuation. Contemplate FMC00.472 again, and with your mind draw horizontal lines: what Man calls 'his' higher bodily principles are really the refined and spiritualized parts of his lower bodies, and they also 'belong' to the higher hierarchies, but in different ways (four higher hierarchies 'carry' manas, five carry budhi).
And so these beings either sacrifice a lowest element of their own being to provide the 'thought substance' for a lower hierarchy, or they contribute by their own thoughts and create seeds for something to come later, and so on. This interplay of different roles (or types of dynamic interaction process for each level of the hierarchy) is what is also summarized at a high conceptual level on FMC00.077A, which it is important to help one realize the 'contributing roles' of each hierarchy depending on the CoC, see Schema FMC00.048 on Twelve Conditions of Consciousness.
- Note: This schema FMC00.077A is a simplification because it does not show the CoL and CoF that are embedded in the cosmic fractal, it just shows the overall main result at CoC level for each planetary stage of evolution. To realize that with an illustration, see example FMC00.413
In order to 'see' this picture it is essential to be able to visualize mentally as an imagination, the fact that Man also is made up of spiritual beings, that we are woven into them and their different structural or bodily principles of their constitution. And what can help with meditating on this is: Cosmic fractal#1923-05-02-GA224.
Sometimes our contemporary worldview hampers us in thinking freely about the I and the spiritual world, as we think of Man still as what is enclosed in a separate entity, often mapped even unconsciously to a body of some sorts. However the spiritual I is really beyond space and time, one cannot locate it hard and deterministically. The temporal realm is below the fourth sublayer of the spirit world, also called 'akasha'. Above that, beyond the 'abyss', time and space no longer exist. That means that all that exists in the temporal realm and spacetime-history 'collapes' into meaning, one can no longer use mundane terms and concepts to describe it appropriately and reason about intellectually. Further reading on this topic, see oa Human 'I'#Note .5B3.5D - In response to a question and Man's higher triad#.5B2.5D - Connecting the worlds of our .27true spiritual I.27 with our .27physical I.27
The monad is still of a higher nature, budhi and atma really originate in worlds higher than the spirit world (the budhi and nirvana planes), and are clothed as they ripple down into the higher spiritual world (see eg Schema FMC00.128 and Schema FMC00.141A on the Monad topic page). Atma is the drop of divine substance, the building block of divinity to be found in everything downstream, and this for all kingdoms we know currently on Earth.
- For example Rawn Clark describes this in his book (2019) 'Love letter to a dying world'. To get a feel for the reality of the group soul, see Rawn Clark from an experiential perspective in the youtube movie 'Offerings: 19 - Greater selves'. (4'30-17'30). Rawn uses terminology 'greater self' for group soul (and/or Man's higher triad), and 'individual self' for 'Individuality'. He is able to speak with waking consciousness to comment whilst shifting his consciousness to the spirit world and visiting the world of group souls and archetypes of all kingdoms of nature.
The gradual development of the I
The SoF provided substance by sacrificing their lowest member, this I-substance is able to ripple through and take hold of astral body, etheric body, and physical body .. this however is a gradual process, it takes time in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs. Only at the end of the Atlantean epoch, the current waking consciousness arrives with the fifth sub-race. It is what is passed on onto the fifth epoch as the seed or basis for mankind in the current epoch.
Now Man’s I-experiences in physical reality are soul experiences of the spiritual I using the lower bodies, astral events picked up with physical senses and the nervous system, and inscribed both in our physical memory (during sleep over a three day period, see Memory) as astrally (see The etheric heart as an astral recorder and the Kamaloka journey in the astral world after death).
- This way, Man develops its threefold soul structure, one can imagine an I-organization because it relates to the three lower bodies .. [PS: How is this structure taken along across incarnations ? Maybe as a prototype inscribed in the fourth layer of the spirit world ? Think of the streams downwards and going up again (since the Atlantean epoch).]
In the process between death and a new birth, the valuable life experiences on Earth are 'processed' and incorporated to slowly develop and weave Man's spiritual structure of the higher triad (see eg FMC00.287 and FMC00.450 on Journey between death and a new birth. This is why the importance is stressed that Man, after death, finds the connection with the Third Hierarchy, and is able to pass from the soul to the spirit world. One can imagine how this is a natural and organic process, much dependant on the nature of the soul and the life lived, and so many don't make it. This is described in the parable of the sower, see also the two lectures on meaning of life Meaning of life#1912-05-23-GA155 and 1912-05-24-GA155.
The processing of these experiences inscribes a clean manas package (in the book of lives or causal body), it is the development of the spirit-self .. and this is the key to further individuation. First this processing is done unconsciousless, but it ripens ever more consciously as the consciousness soul is spiritual and thus the good appears gradually (conscience, empathy ... selfless love) and so more 'good' makes it to the spirit world. In the current epoch, mankind is in the developmental stage of evolving the spirit-self, for a simple presentation (without CoL and CoF) see Schema FMC00.130.
So the image I try to put forth here is that Man, through its functioning in all the lives in the cycle of rebirth, is really writing small bits to these higher nodes of the higher triad, first providing a seed and then an organic cluttering and developing – visualize the process of dune formation. This way Man’s soul activity organically develops the higher members, slowly, but individually. The substance is most probably there because of the group soul. The higher triad that was developed in the first three planetary incarnations may to be looked at like this, as macroscopic material at a group level, not individualized yet, and carried by the higher hierarchies.
The way how the I develops needs to fulfill certain criteria for the whole process to go forward with traction in the right way. With traction is meant, development along the intended or designed path of balanced development.
If someone is only evil with every action, then very little is ‘written’ into manas to couple with the higher triad, it is a weak thread. With black magic it may even be this connection is completely lost, this is explained on Eight sphere#The state of avichi.
Another way to get a feel of the importance of morality is Human breath#1915-01-03-GA275.
In short, the spiritual world does not accept what is not good, because of the moral nature cosmos. [References still to be added, the fact certain karmic deeds are thrown back and don't go through, bounces back]
In terms of 'traction' along development, see also the role of the third hierarchy on Three meetings (and the gearbox image described on Schema FMC00.023B on that page) to show again the link with angels and archangels on a daily and yearly basis. This is a way to appreciate the cosmic rhythms of the spiritual hierarchies in the cosmic fractal. Other ways are 25920 (eg Schema FMC00.027) the Phoenix (500 year rhythm of current group souls), or Spiritual hierarchies and their eigenperiods.
After death, the karmic package remains in the astral world for you and is taken back in descent on process of re-birth (see Schema FMC00.498), but that does not mean you are developing your higher triad and true I.
Here also we see that the I is a really broad difficult subject in spiritual science, and the single term I is used to denote may various aspects of this complex affair.
The I needs a certain balance between the members and incorporate the learnings of each life and cultural age, so the multiplicity of experiential dimensions moulds the development. The ladder of spiritual maturity is where souls can progress or go backwards up or down the ladder. This is what is meant with the Sixteen paths of perdition.
Also in the context of these 'contexts for development', the different group souls (as in bull, lion, eagle, Man, but also folk souls) are related to the human races. Consider the race as a physical body vehicle with a certain physiology, that may be more or less suited to the stage of development needed (even if this is not absolute). See FMC00.204 and FMC00.186 (which ethers, development of subsystem and nervous system)
But so astral entities can take on a body and descend into it using etheric substance etc, can they also re-incarnate ? Re-incarnate implies that we are talking about a spiritual entity with an individual spirit-self, and individualized connection into the higher spirit world. This not all astral entities have.
So requirements are
- that the process kamaloka (of astral rewind) has been gone through, and dipped even for the shortest period into the spirit world (even the lowest developed true human being does this)
- that the soul is able to pass from the soul to the spirit world, and has the desire and force at midnight hour to descend again
- does it also include the criterium that a piece of higher self triad needs to have been written already, for it to be a true I ? Steiner says the true I is the consciousness soul with a bit of manas included, so it requires at least some piece of higher astral. This also is not necessarily the case for all souls.
Many lower astral entities can thus take hold of a body. Also in the beginning of John's gospel, the author uses the term ‘I-people’ .. it clearly means there are non-I people, or cases where the fructification by the Christ Impulse does not work. See I-less human beings#1907-06-27-GA100
- Note: other angles or streets we don't go into here:
- the fall of the spirits of darkness
- the link with initiation separating TFW or the members of the etheric body
- Another angle to approach this is to see what it means to be an adept, how initiation changes the constitution of the human being. The purification of the lower bodies, starting with the astral down to the blood (getting under conscious control of the EKs).
3. Taking a step back
Current fifth epoch
After the above, taking a step back:
Whereas first human beings were and are connected still to different group souls, they start the process of individuation as a gradual process at different levels of granuality, and even today this is still going on (see Phoenix).
The process of individuation starts in the Lemurian epoch, develops over the Atlantean epoch, but reaches its crowning in the current Postatlantean epoch with two key elements: the Mystery of Golgotha and the development of the consciousness soul.
This is depicted on Schema FMC00.438 (based on what I scribbled as I 'saw' that, FMC00.438A). This schema is a top-level pyramidion stone for an underlying story and explanation of the guidance of mankind by the White Lodge to prepare the constitution of the people of Europe for this (more on this on oa Two streams of development and Migrations).
That the story is a lot more complex is depicted with FMC00.377A. Just as there were the pre-MoG interventions of Christ, there were also various impulses in the current epoch, see the Krishna impulse (sentient soul) the Wotan Impulse (intellectual soul)
Regarding this story over three epochs (or four, if we include the next Sixth epoch). The PDF file The great journey of humanity bundles a selection of Schemas from the site regarding the evolution of humanity and the Christ Impulse. It zooms into the phase of the four epochs between the third and sixth epoch on Earth, and the crucial period of the next 3000 years which is pivotal in the transition of humanity between the current fifth and sixth epochs.
All this to show why we are living in an such an exciting ànd pivotal period in the long history of mankind.
Knitting on an aspect for what's to come
The story above started with group souls of humanity, and the long individuation process of the human I and currently the spirit self. We can map this to the fourth (middle) and fifth (manas) elements of Man's bodily principles. However that is not the end of Man's transformation and spiritualization. With the life-spirit and later spirit-man, Man becomes part of the monads, makes divinity one's own. It includes developing the characteristics of the godhead, see Schema FMC00.410 on Trinity.
So whereas the first part of the journey described above has a dispersion of the group soul to ever greater granularity of the individual I's, the future part of the journey will see the reverse appearance of a new kind of group souls through integration as mankind spiritualizes and rises upward. This is described also on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension (see oa Schema FMC00.187 and FMC00.188 on that topic page).
New group souls are developing based on moral ideals (see also Schema FMC00.188) as stages 'up' leading to Christ as the group soul of humanity (see Second Adam) .. and this is part of the future development of Mankind. Else one falls off this development and is left behind as an evil elemental.
Of course we are only in the very beginning of this stage, as on a cosmic scale we have only just taken the turn with the MoG.
[end of text]
- See 1908-02-29-GA102 for the story depicted in the first schema (this lecture describes the role of the SoF across the planetary stages), combine it with building an understanding of the development of Man's structure in terms of the elements in 1908-05-25-GA103.
- See also 1908-05-25-GA103 on the Human astral body to see how the development of consciousness is related to the physical body as its enabling support tool or environment.
- Human 'I'
- I-less human beings
- Man's bodily principles
- Man's transformation and spiritualization
- Planets hosting beings at various stages of evolution
- Sixteen paths of perdition
References and further reading