Earth and nature in the Lemurian epoch - before separation Moon
Note the description below is specified as before the Separation of Moon, and after the Separation of the Sun. The separation of the Sun is described by Rudolf Steiner to have taken place at the start of the Hyperborean epoch, without further specification. Therefore the description below probably flows from the Hyperborean into the early Lemurian epochs.
This description of the living earth being constituted from giant slime oysters already appears in the description of earth before the separation of the Sun, and may apply also to the Polarian epoch, as noted on the Hyperborean epoch topic page, where an additional description is given.
Earth and climate
When the Moon was part of the Earth:
- earth was of a lump of thickish consistency, like fairly thick muddy sauce or soup, with current mountains still dissolved in it
- the moon had no clear boundaries and formed a sphere of slightly thicker material than the rest, thus making the whole earth into an egg
- in the daytime the sun shone upon the semi-liquid earth
- the Moon developed its various forces and brought about the tides. Up to this day, the earth has kept the remnants of those forces that rhythmically vary the water level in the oceans, and has carried out the variation by itself (1922-09-27-GA347)
- in this thick sauce floated giant slime oysters [without shells - or with a huge shell armour, TBC], 'huge oysters were lumps of jelly or slime', so enormous all of France would have easily fit
- huge oysters were only lumps of jelly or slime
- before the separation of the moon, there was no birth as we know it now
- influence of moon in the earth - the female forces
- these slime oysters secreted a portion of their own substance as the moon, bestowed upon the giant creatures the forces through which they supplied reproductive substances.
- below the shell armour there was a slime-like substance on which the moon forces exerted their influences. As a result, a portion of this substance separated and floated by itself in the liquid earth.
- influence of sun shining from outside the earth - the male forces
- When the sun shone upon it, an eggshell of sorts was formed. This caused the slimelike substance of the oyster to expel this portion, and thus a new creature came about.
- as a result of this process with make and female forces
- the excreted slime made it possible for new huge creatures to develop again and again out of the earth. The old ones died, new ones developed out of the earth. The earth gave birth to these clumsy, gigantic animals and in turn was fertilized by their secretions.
Schema FMC00.318 is a BBD by Rudolf Steiner of the Earth before the Separation of Moon
Lecture coverage and references
1922-09-23-GA347 extract (SWCC)
[An earlier time on Earth: the time of giant slime oysters (without shells)]
What were things like in the period prior, in very ancient times, even before the ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs? Still earlier animals, which preceded the ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and megatheria, were even more awkward because they had practically nothing but a soft body that was not very differentiated. There was something like a head up front, a fairly long tail at the back, and around everything an enormous scale armour.
If you have ever seen an oyster, you can think of it as a tiny dwarf compared to these ancient creatures. Its entire body is jellylike, slimy, and surrounded by a shell. If you now picture the shell slightly changed and covered with scales like a turtle’s and picture a soft oyster body inside it, you will get an idea of the animals that inhabited the earth prior to the ichthyosaurs and the megatheria.
At that time the earth was of a thickish consistency, thicker than milk. The mountains we know today were still dissolved in it. The earth was a lump of fairly thick sauce in space. In it floated giant oysters, which would have dwarfed this entire hall. They were so enormous that you could have drawn all of France on their backs; all of France would have easily fit there. The older ones of these animals were so huge because the earth as well was still huge.
So, there once lived on the earth gigantic creatures that consisted actually only of a jellylike substance and that could only move the way our oysters do, except that the latter require much thinner water. These jellylike creatures wore a gigantic armour like our turtles and swam around in the thickish liquid of the earth.
You can compare the earth of that period with a huge bowl of thick soup containing dumplings. These you must imagine so solid on one side that you would lose some teeth biting into them and very soft on the other. Just imagine that you could remove the hard portion like a hat. The other part was so soft that you could have eaten it; it was softer than the thick liquid earth in which these creatures were floating.
These ancient animals had something that you can still see today in certain small insects. For instance, you have probably all seen snails crawling along. You can follow their tracks because they leave a trail of slime. Nowadays the sun dries up the slime, and so it does not have much significance. But in those very ancient times, when the earth was not yet completely solid, the animals I described also left such slime behind, which then mixed with the thick earth soup. These creatures were therefore of benefit to the earth.
Nowadays you can observe only traces of such things. For instance, when you walk down a path after a good rainfall, especially around the Goetheanum here, on rainy days earthworms crawl around everywhere. Where are they the rest of the time? They live in the earth, where they make tunnels to crawl through. You see, if it were not for these earthworms, our fields would be far less fertile, for the substances they leave behind change the soil. We should never get the idea that anything in nature is superfluous.
The giant oysters in ancient times did something quite similar; they constantly excreted slime that renewed the liquid earth. But things are a bit different nowadays. No matter how much of these substances our snails and earthworms secrete and add to the earth, their excretions die off in the earth as it is now. We certainly profit from what earthworms and snails leave behind in the soil of fields and meadows; it is an excellent fertilizer when it sinks into the earth. But you see, what these animals give to the earth does not come alive; it does not have life forces.
But in ancient times when the giant oysters excreted substances into the liquid earth, something remarkable took place, something that occurs in a similar form even today. The fertilization process in most lower animals — and even in some more developed ones — is different from fertilization in higher animals and human beings. The females of fish, toads, and other amphibians, deposit a clump of eggs somewhere, and the males then drop their semen on these eggs and fertilize them. The fertilization thus occurs outside the female’s body. In other words, the female deposits the eggs somewhere and leaves. The male finds them, fertilizes them, and leaves as well. The fertilization process is fully external and will come to nothing if the sun does not shine upon these fertilized eggs. Without the sun, they will die off. But if the sun shines on the fertilized eggs, they will develop into young animals. This process is still taking place in our time.
At the time when these giant oysters swam around in the earth soup, the slime they excreted made it possible for new huge creatures like this to develop again and again out of the earth. The old ones died, but new ones developed out of the earth. Thus the earth itself gave birth to these very clumsy, gigantic animals and in turn was fertilized by their secretions.
You can imagine, then, that at one time the entire earth was a living organism, a living being. Its life had to be sustained through the slime these creatures constantly excreted. If the thick earth soup had existed by itself, these huge animals would soon have died too. They excreted the slime and thus constantly maintained the life of the earth, enabling it in turn to give birth to new creatures, which again fertilized the earth and so forth.
But they would have been unable to excrete the slime if it had not been for something else. I mentioned that the earth was like a thick soup. But the animals’ slime was much thinner.
How was it possible that the animals had slime of thinner consistency than the earth itself?
At first glance we would think that it was impossible for lumps of thin slime to originate in the thickish liquid of the earth.
You see, if you dissolve salt in a glass of water, it may happen that some of it sinks down and forms a deposit at the bottom of the glass. Now the water has become thinner than before, when all the salt was still dissolved in it. The thinner solution is near the top, and the thicker liquid is near the bottom. If you now turned the glass upside down, the entire salt solution would of course run out, and there would be no deposit. But this imaginary reversal illustrates the conditions of the ancient earth. In this thick earth soup lived the huge oysters. They had a scale armour at the top and slime below. What did their shells actually consist of? They were nothing else than deposited earth matter. Just as some salt will precipitate out of the solution and settle at the bottom, so the material for the shells had separated out of the thicker earth substance; however, it moved upwards and formed a deposit there while the thinner matter remained at the bottom. So in a manner of speaking, the reversed glass, or head, could rise out of the water. Only the salt, as it were, rose to the top.
And what happened to this salt? Well, let us go back to what the dog does when it has a wound. First it licks the wound, and then it lets the sun shine upon it. The fluid on the surface thickens and kills something inside the wound. Otherwise bacteria would enter, enlarge the affected area, and the animal would die. You see, a sort of shell forms here, a crust forms out of materials from inside. The slimelike liquid the dog puts onto the wound comes from its insides. When the sun shines on this liquid, the warmth thickens it.
It was the same with ancient animals. The sun was shining upon this thick earth soup, and as a result certain areas within it thickened in the same way a scab develops upon a dog’s wound. These became shells for the oysters. Underneath this thickened mass of the shells the slime was now thinner. This is how the giant oysters came about.
Yet they would not have been there if sun had not been shining upon them. Without sunshine they could not have existed. We thus have the strange phenomenon that in the daytime the sun shone upon the semi-liquid earth, drawing forth these huge oysters.
But when it really comes down to it, it would not have benefited the earth that, while moving through this thick soup, the animals fertilized it by means of the thin slime they excreted. This by itself would not have been sufficient. The earth must have contained something else. It must have been similar to an egg. Only then could it have been properly fertilized. That is understandable, isn’t it? Only if the earth had been like an egg could it have been fertilized.
To understand that condition when the earth was a thick soup, we must examine how an egg can be fertilized. We have discussed the male creatures in ancient times, the ones that fertilized the earth. But then the entire earth would have had to be the female counterpart, a huge collective egg. How could that have been possible?
It was like that because people then still knew that the development of the unborn child was connected with the moon. They simply knew, and we can rediscover through anthroposophical research that only because of the moon can the foetus develop as a living being.
But the moon affects only the females of the human and the animal kingdoms, because their constitution makes them susceptible to it. The moon no longer affects the earth, no longer produces eggs there; true enough. And yet, if we study this matter carefully, we find that there is more involved than a delicate stimulus to our imagination and an activation of our growth forces when we go for a walk in moonlight. The moon has such a strong enlivening influence on the bodies of women and female animals that it alone bestows growth forces upon their children or young ones.
But the moon does not enable the earth itself to grow, because too much of our planet is already dead. If it was once possible for the earth to be fertilized, it must then have been much more alive than today. Now remember what I said earlier: whatever exists within us becomes harmful when we take it in from the outside. The moon now shining upon the earth can no longer produce life. Why? Because its light comes from the outside. This is as if the air we had just exhaled tried to get back into our bodies; it could not sustain life within us or enliven us. In our time the moon cannot work any longer on the earth itself; it can affect only the bodies of human beings and animals, because they are protected.
[Separation of the Moon]
But where must the moon once have been in order to make of the earth itself a living being? The moon could not have done that while being outside the earth. It must have been inside it! Just as carbon dioxide cannot keep us alive when it is outside our bodies, but must develop in a living way within us, so the light of the moon must at some time have been inside the earth, not outside.
At the time of these giant oysters the moon was not separate from the earth, but dissolved in its thickish soup. It had no clear boundaries and just formed a sphere of slightly thicker material than the rest. Thus it made the earth as a whole into an egg. The moon, which in our time affects only our imagination and the bodies of women and female animals, was at one point part of the earth.
That means that at some time it must have moved away. You see, here we reach a tremendously important moment in the development of the earth. The moon, which in our time is always outside the earth, used to be inside it. Then the earth expelled it, and now the two are separate.
When we study the body of the earth we discover something remarkable. First of all we find that it consists of water in which continents or land masses ‘float’, just as these gigantic animals once swam in the liquid earth. Europe, Asia and Africa ‘float’ in water as these huge creatures once floated in the earth soup. When we study the forms of the various land masses, we see that they look different from each other.
We also notice from the hollowing out of the earth in various places and from the receding continents that the moon once separated from the earth in the area now called the Pacific. The moon was once inside the earth and then was expelled. It hardened only after it was outside the earth.
Let us return to the old earth condition when it still contained the moon. Then
- the secretions of the moon gave the earth the function of mother,
- while the sun produced the ‘fatherly’ substances in constantly creating those lumps of slime and surrounding them with a thick coat of horn. These floating lumps of slime constantly fertilized what was underneath them in the earth soup, which was kept alive by the moon. The earth, then, was a huge egg, fertilized continuously by the influences of the sun.
If this situation had continued, it would have led to a very uncomfortable condition. The moon would have been cast out; the earth would have become infertile, and everything would have died after all.
What happened instead?
True, the moon was expelled, and the earth died. But some of the old fertilizing qualities were preserved within the bodies of female humans and animals. Before this expulsion of the moon, there was no birth as we know it now. Just as you take some of the old yeast and put it in the dough if you want to make a new loaf of bread, so some of the old moon substance remained in female bodies so that they could be fertilized. The egg thus fertilized is merely a reproduction of the ancient earth egg. It is no wonder that pregnancy, the length of time the unborn child is carried in the womb, is calculated on the basis of the moon phases; after all, the moon is still involved in reproduction. If you are a baron’s son, you must live within the terms of the legacy your father left behind. The same is true for the fertilized egg, which actually derives from the ancient moon soup. It must still live by the moon’s terms, because it has inherited its substance from the moon.
[Before separation Moon]
At that time the fertilizing process took place in such a way that the moon, contained as it was in the earth, bestowed upon the giant creatures the forces through which they, as it were, supplied reproductive substances. We cannot say that the animals then laid eggs as such. These huge oysters were only lumps of jelly or slime that secreted a portion of their own substance.
As I described previously, each of them may originally have been as large as all of France and have had a huge shell, on which you could have walked around. Below this armour there was a slime-like substance on which the moon forces exerted their influences. As a result, a portion of this substance separated and floated by itself in the liquid earth.
When the sun shone upon it again, an eggshell of sorts was formed. This caused the slimelike substance of the oyster to expel this portion, and thus a new creature came about. We can say that
- the female forces came from the moon, which was inside the earth, and
- the male forces came from the sun, which shone upon our globe from the outside.
I am here describing a particular period in evolution, the period when the moon was still inside the earth.
[after explaining the principles of procreation and the relation to the forces of sun and moon]
Let us now return once more to the time of the huge oysters. As soon as such a creature had succeeded in catching the light of the sun, it lost its inner forces and could only use those that rose up from the earth. These the oyster could absorb because its underside was soft. These huge oysters, which were as big as France, absorbed the sun forces that were reflected upwards out of the earth.
After these creatures had metamorphosed to megatheria and ichthyosaurs, their undersides were no longer soft. Now the sun shone upon them from nearly all directions, and they had to depend upon the procreative forces they had inside them. The sun did no more than quicken these forces.
What kind of conditions must have prevailed at a very early time to endow animals with procreative forces they could not have received in a later time when the sun's rays reached them only from the outside?
[Before separation Sun]
There must have been a time when the sun was contained in the earth, when the earth contained more than the bit of sun forces it now preserves through the winter, for example for the potatoes. Indeed, there was a time when the entire sun was inside the earth.
[see further: Hyperborean epoch]