Gender and sexuality

From Anthroposophy

This page makes the distinction between

  • procreation as a process in a spiritual scientific evolutionary context, and
  • the current process of fertilization with sexuality of the physical bodies as we know it currently.

From a spiritual scientific positioning, sexuality is secondary compared to fertilization which is primary, because procreation of bodies for incarnation is key to the Development of the I principle and consciousness, and thus for humanity as the tenth hierarchy in its development.

Evolutionary, Man's physical gender and male and female sexuality is a temporary phenomenon in evolution that appeared in the middle of the Lemurian epoch and will disappear again in the future. The division of the sexes happened through the influence of the Spirit of Form Jehovah working from through the Moon forces (GA013, Ch. 4 part 6).

This liberated some of the spiritual soul forces that were previously required to build the body, and that could now be used by Man internally to perfect Man's own nature (GA011, Ch. 6): "the price of thought is single sexedness".

Gender refers to:

  • the male and female polarities in the make up of the human being, in all Man's bodily principles,
  • the gender and sexuality of the physical body of man and woman.

In the current process of incarnation, the choice of gender comes quite late in the descent from the spiritual world before physical incarnation. Whereas the new incarnation ('I'-identity) has been worked and crafted in the spirit world, and further developed in the descent in the planetary spheres, it is only in the Moon or lunar sphere that the gender is choosen (1922-11-05-GA218). This is also where the karma is recorded after death (eg 1924-01-28-GA240) and again taken on at descent. A soul has to have the strength to take on that karma, and the gender choice is related to this.

Another aspect of sexuality beside the above spiritual scientific aspects, concerns the human soul experience of one's own bodily sexuality, and

  • how the soul is confronted with societal influences (eg laws regarding homosexuality, porn, media coverage on transgenders, etc)
    • and the impact of these developments both on a broad mainstream level for the whole of humanity,
    • and on one's individual life
  • and the human being acts as a free being, specifically with regards to sexual relations and interactions (and soul aspects of pleasure, and meaning).



  • between incarnations: gender most often switches between incarnations (1910-05-26-GA120), but as eg the KR lectures case examples illustrates this is surely not a fixed rule
  • the contrast between masculine and feminine has its cosmic archetype in the contrast between comet and moon (1910-03-05-GA118)
  • in art
    • Wagner's Tristan and Isolde gives insight into the problem connected with the dual aspect of sex. It expresses the soul's longing to be whole and undivided (spiritual), to reach perfect harmony and a consciousness which is no longer male or female (as these are important only upon the physical plane) (1905-05-12-GA092)

Bodily principles

  • "the soul is not tied to a particular sex: he souls of the female gender work themselves through [this] until they can live equally with men in the bodies the latter have made out of and for themselves, and there will [then] be one sex on Earth." (1905-10-23-GA093)
  • the Human etheric body of a man is female and that of the woman is male. Thus, the masculine-feminine contrast is reversed for the etheric bodies of man and woman, and so are the cometary and lunar effects. These effects are also there in relation to the astral body and the I. (1910-03-05-GA118)
  • evolutionary development of gender from the different influences working on Man's bodily principles, and culminating in current Man with make and female bodily constitution, see Schema FMC00.065 below
    • the development of only two final forms of male and physical physical bodies out of the formative process that developed the form of the Human physical body (see 1908-09-10-GA106)
      • those human beings in whom the physical, astral, and I predominated, are the physical ancestors of the males of today
      • those in whom the etheric, astral, and I predominated, are the physical ancestors of the females of today

Evolutionary phases of procreation

  • "the female sex was there originally, and follows a falling curve, whereas the male sex is in a rising curve, and is seeking in itself the procreative force which the female already has" (1905-10-23-GA093)
  • stages of fertilization
    • stage 1 - soul-spiritual fructification
    • stage 2 - before separation Sun
    • stage 3 - after separation Sun
    • stage 4 - self-fertilization
    • stage 5 - transitional stage between the virginal fructification and the later propagation
      • myth of the goddess Nerthus, that represents the transitional stage between the virginal fructification and the later propagation (1908-09-10-GA106, also 1916-12-24-GA174)
      • for the transition, see also Lemurian epoch (and oa Schema FMC00.457)
    • stage 6 - current situation - after separation of the sexes
      • the current process of bisexual procreation, see a.o. Embryo in the womb
      • evolutionary description of the apperance of the sexes in 1906-01-06-GA244 below
    • stage 7 - end of current bi-sexual procreation
      • around the end of the current epoch, the reunion of the Moon, placed at approx. 8000 AD (1905-01-19)
      • possibly as early as the seventh millennium, all women will be infertile on earth (1917-10-07-GA177)
      • in the seventh millennium .. women will cease to be fertile; an entirely different form of living on earth will come about. That will be the time when the moon will again approach the earth and will be incorporated into it (1921-05-13-GA204)
      • not later than the seventh millennium women (and possibly a little beyond) will grow infertile, and reproduction will no longer be possible (1917-10-28-GA177)
      • for the last two quotes, see extract on Humanity is getting younger)
    • stage 8 - future outlook
      • in the future "the human being will proceed from the human being

Sex and sexuality

  • use of sexual energies in various practices
    • in sex magic (eg Paschal Beverly Randolph and Aleister Crowley)
    • taoist practices (eg Mantak Chia)
    • in tantric yoga. In Eastern tantra, sexuality is seen as a world-creating energy, which in its original state lies within us as the power of procreation, and specific exercises try to work transformation and aim to ultimately awaken the blended male-female energy towards kundalini energy rising up through chakras. this is quite different from modern western initiation that does not focus on development of chakras or kundalini as a goal, but rather sees changes in these as natural consequences of appropriate development through initiation exercises.
  • sexuality in contemporary society and culture, and the rise of pornography, gender confusion, transgenders - see Discussion page: D00.001 - topics of gender and sexuality


Schema FMC00.065 shows tha various influences working on Man's bodily principles and culminating in the blend with the Sphinx, and the two 'types' of bodily constitution for male and female human beings.


Lecture coverage and references


In 8,000 A.D. man will no longer be born of woman. Physical birth began with the exit of the Moon and to this man owes his Intellect, his personality and his individuality. This change however is only temporary.


[Tristan and Isolde]

One who has a deeper vision, like Wagner, will discover that the Tristan theme is able to give a clearer insight into the problem connected with the dual aspect of sex.

The male and female elements are important only upon the physical plane. Tristan has the deep longing to be whole and undivided, to reach perfect harmony and a consciousness which is no longer male or female. This note of longing re-echoing throughout the drama may be expressed as follows:

Tristan does not wish any longer to be merely Tristan, merely “I”, but he wishes to take up within him Isolde, so that in him live Isolde and Tristan.

The two have lost every consciousness of a division. This re-echoes in the final verses of the poem expressing redemption from a separate, divided form of existence:

... [ text poem]

These words are born out of a deeper knowledge. The surging ocean of bliss is the astral world, and the spirit world is the sphere resounding in fragrant tones. The life-principle is the breath of the world; everything must be contained within it.

To be no longer severed and divided in the sphere of consciousness, but to “drown and sink down” unconsciously into an undifferentiated element — this is highest bliss.

Within earthly life it is indeed highest bliss to overcome it, to overcome sense-life through spiritual life. Desire seeking to destroy what pertains to the Earth still takes on the form of desire. Nevertheless it is a noble form of desire if the element of desire contained in this aspiration is overcome. This is the problem which Wagner tries to solve in his “Tristan and Isolde”.


In our time these things are thus intertwining in their influence. We must therefore think of them as interacting. Thus, theosophy has relied neither on the Biblical legend, nor on the Temple Legend, but asexually seeks the kernel of wisdom, that has to be restored again, in everything. Now you see how theosophy is the bringer of peace, the harmoniser.

How does this work together in our epoch ?

Our Root Race recapitulates what already was there before. It brings the antithesis of what was already there in Lemurian times to meaningful expression in the spiritual realm. An opposition had therefore to come about, because the female sex was there originally, and follows a falling curve, whereas the male sex is in a rising curve, and is seeking in itself the procreative force which the female already has. When we remain in lower spheres, we have to make an exact distinction, through occultism: Whoever is racially an Atlantean man, need not also be Atlantean in his soul [qualities]. Hence, the soul is not tied to [a particular] sex either. The souls of the female gender work themselves through [this] until they can live equally with men in the bodies the latter have made out of and for themselves, and there will [then] be one sex on earth.

As long as men still stood in opposition to the female, they had to hold their tongues. The founding of the Adoption Lodges in the eighteenth century paved the way for the sexes to come together. The first of these was founded in 1775. A Freemasonry was practised in them, which had different symbols from the male Freemasonry. However, the induction of women in such Adoption Lodges of the male Freemasons did pave the way for the sexes to come together. The founder of our Society was indeed a [female] member of such an Adoption Lodge. What must be pointed to as the beginning of theosophy did indeed thus play a part in the matter. So, theosophy is a world task, connected with occult currents, and must take over where Freemasonry left off. Freemasonry could indeed still be reawakened, and could help us.

But the more profound thought is this: these one-sided male endeavours must be vanquished in theosophical circles. Throughout the Middle Ages there was a sublime preparation for spiritually engendering the opposite sex in man. Man developed in himself, by concentrating, at first as a thought, what had to become a reality in him later on. Therefore, as a preparation for this, the Cult of Mary resulted during the Middle Ages. This is nothing else than concentrating to engender the female in the male, while for the female the Cult of Jesus served the parallel purpose. The Cult of Mary had its origin in this foundation.

You will now see what confusion must result when an Order arose which broke with all this and sought to regain the female wisdom. It is world dominion which is at stake in this; if anyone wants to leave the old wisdom as it is, he will have to conquer the world for the old powers. There is such an Order: it is the Jesuit Order. It has consciously set itself this task. That is why the Jesuits and the Freemasons confront each other so sourly.


The kingdom of human animals has also split into two kingdoms, and into the two sexes. This gave rise to physical love among men, which again formed the bond between the two sexes and, on the other hand, the possibility of higher development, of spiritual knowledge. Because the human kingdom split and the physical love arose, the gods could develop higher at the expense of men, since for the gods the physical love of men was as much a vital air as the oxygen of the plants for humans and animals for the plant, the light radiated back from the mineral kingdom, it is said in the Greek legend that the gods of nectar and ambrosia. This is the male and female love of the people.

At the same time, the heart, lungs, and warm blood developed in humans - previously, people were breathing through gills. They lived in an atmosphere you could not breathe through your lungs. Now the respiratory organs gradually changed to be able to breathe in the oxygen of the air.

Rise and progression now consists in people overcoming physical love. The separation into the two sexes was necessary for the intellect to develop in man. He was thereby split into a lower and a higher nature. But what the two sexes have in common must now be overcome again. It is a stage of ascension when man sacrifices the forces of physical love and transmutes them into higher forces. By sacrificing these lower powers, the higher can appear in him.


(enclosure with letter to Marie von Sievers), extract SWCC:

[introduction background]

The Earth is the fourth of the seven planetare stages of evolution on which the human being develops consecutively his seven states of consciousness. It has been shown that Old Moon is the place where the pictorial consciousness is developed. An 'image' is merely similar to its object, not identical with it. But the con­sciousness which is being developed on Earth produces thoughts which are, in a certain respect, 'identical' with the object to which they belong. That is why Earth-consciousness is also called 'object-consciousness'. But this object-consciousness develops only in the fourth minor Earth cycle. During the first three the conditions experienced on Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon are briefly repeated. But here again, it has to be said that we are not dealing with mere repetition; during this repetition the physical, etheric and astral bodies develop in such a way that they can become bearers of the 'I'. The object-consciousness is dependent, after all, on the development of the latter in the fourth cycle.

When the Earth has passed through a sleep-like state after the third repeat cycle — between the so-called archetypal and arupic globes — there emerges at the start of the fourth cycle, in an initially arupic manner, everything which can be considered as the results of the Saturn, Sun and Moon developments. We are dealing with the descendants of the three Moon realms: the mineral kingdom which is still plant-like in a certain sense, the plant kingdom which has a certain animal existence, and the animal kingdom which is at a higher level than the present animal kingdom. These three kingdoms together form the new planet, the Earth, which is emerging anew from its state of darkness. We must not forget, however, that this Earth still contains the former Sun and Moon. While the Moon manvantara was coming to an end, Sun and Moon reunited and entered pralaya as one body. They also emerge here once again as one body, although in the third Earth cycle the tendency to divide clearly showed itself. Now, during the fourth cycle, the Earth is passing through the rupa and astral state and is preparing to become physical again.

[Development of sense organs]

The development of this physical state in the three kingdoms quoted is the task of the 'Spirits of Form' (SoF). They transform the previous 'embryonic forms of the senses' into truly formed sense organs, particularly in the highest kingdom, the animal-man kingdom. In all the earlier physical states through which the human being passed, the sense organs did not yet possess their set form.

Because these organs have received a set form they cease to be active; they lose their productivity, they become purely passive, suitable only for the perception of externally presented objects.

[Appearance of sexual reproduction]

The productive forces withdraw from the sense organs; they become more internalised and form the intellec­tual organ. However, this organ cannot be formed without again pushing down to a lower level a certain section of man's fellow-beings. But instead, the human being pushes a part of his own being into a lower region. He separates out a part of his being as his own lower nature. And this lower nature preserves the productive forces which have been lost by the sense organs. The productive force which has been pushed to this lower level becomes the force of sexual reproduction as it appears on Earth.

The 'Spirits of Form' would freeze all reproductive forces and thus all life, which would harden into pure form, if they did not concentrate these forces in one part of the human being. That is why the Spirits of Form created the sexes. Without this, statues would be created, not living human beings.

The whole process is linked with the complete transformation of the Earth. Conditions are created which allow the beings described to live. This is made possible by the Earth — still united with the Moon — splitting off from what remains as the Sun. The Sun thereby faces the Earth as an independent body. This is the external physical precondition for the genesis of outer percep­tion, of object-consciousness, and for the development of our sexual nature. However, at this time it is still most certainly of an androgynous nature. This is because the Moon forces are still all contained in the Earth.

The intellectual organ, although present, is still completely inactive at that time. It is only able to unfold its activity once the sexual-productive forces have been reduced by half, so that each being is only in possession of half of its former productive forces. This, then, produces the two sexes. Externally this occurs by those forces leaving the Earth which now revolve around it as the present Moon. If this division had not taken place Earth would have become a frozen mass, pure form.

But in this way only that was removed from it which necessarily had to become set, and that became the Moon, on which human life could not develop.

Thus Earth preserved for itself those things from overall planetary matter which could be productive, even if only on the lower level of sexual life.

The representative of the 'Spirits of Form' is Jehovah. Thus he brings about the formation of the sense organs. But he would also cause complete ossification into pure form if he were the only one at work.

Two events are of significance for the next stage.

  • One is the creation of the two sexes for the reasons given above. The form this takes originates with the Spirits of Form.

But this does not yet contain the attraction of the two sexes for one another, or their affection for each other. This has its origin in the embodiment of specific beings in the life of both sexes, beings who come down from a foreign place, from Venus. They incorporate into the Earth love in its lowest form as the attraction between the sexes. This love is called upon to ennoble itself increasingly and, at a later time, to take on the highest forms.

  • 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 cycles, as we described, can descend into the organ of the intellect.

continuation of this extract (and the addition of the next day, on another topic), see: Epochs in Earth physical round#1906-01-06-GA262


is called 'The future of Man'

[reproduction through larynx]

Above all it will be upon the reproductive force that man will work. He will transform it. Many people cannot imagine that there will ever be a different generative process. But it will be so, the process of generation will be altered. The generative process and all that stands in connection with it will pass over in the future to another organ. The organ that is already preparing to become the future organ of generation is the human larynx. Today it can only bring forth vibrations of the air, can only impart to the air what lies in the word that goes forth from it, so that the vibrations correspond to the word. Later on, not only will the word press forward in its rhythm from the larynx, but it will be irradiated by man, it will be penetrated by very substance. Just as today the word only becomes airwaves, so in the future man's inner being, his own likeness, which today is in his word, will issue from the larynx. The human being will proceed from the human being, man will speak forth man. And this in the future will be the birth of a new human being — that he is spoken forth by another.

Such things throw a definite light on phenomena in our surroundings which no natural science can explain. That transformation of the reproductive force which will again become free of sex, takes over then the functions of the earlier reproduction. Hence in the male organism at the age of puberty, a transformation also takes place in the larynx. The voice becomes deeper. This shows you clearly how these two things are interconnected. Thus occultism throws light again and again on facts of life and illumines phenomena for which materialistic science can give you no explanation.


[section of Group souls of humanity]

  • Those human beings in whom the physical, astral, and I predominated, are the physical ancestors of the males of today, while
  • those in whom the etheric, astral, and I predominated, are the physical ancestors of the females of today.

The other types disappeared more and more; only these two remained, and evolved into the male and female forms.

How was it possible that gradually just these two forms evolved? This occurred through the differing effects of the working of the Isis and Osiris forces.

[division of sexes]

We have seen that in the phases of the new moon, when the moon is dark, Isis is characterized, but that Osiris is characterized in the shining phases of the full moon. Isis and Osiris are spiritual beings on the moon, but we find their deeds on the earth. We find them on the earth because it is through these deeds that the human race divided into two sexes. The female ancestors of human beings were formed through the influence of Osiris; the ancestors of men were formed through the workings of Isis. The influence of Isis and Osiris on mankind occurs through the nerve filaments, through the working of which mankind is developed into male and female. In the myth this is shown through Isis's seeking Osiris; the male and the female seek each other on the earth. Over and over again we see that wonderful events of cosmic evolution are hidden in these myths.

When the stage of the Balance had been passed, there gradually evolved in the upper members of the human being the differentiations we describe as male and female. Man remained unisexual much longer than the animals. What had long since occurred in the other animals now for the first time took place in man. There was a time when there was a unified human form, containing nothing of the method of propagation that later developed. During this time the nature of man contained both sexes in one being. “And God created man male-female,” is the way it stands in the Bible, not “Male and female created he them.”* He created both in one. It is the worst possible translation when we say, “Male and female created he them.” This has no sense in face of the real facts.

[threefold Isis]

Thus we look into a time when human nature was still a unity, when every person was virginally reproductive. This stage of evolution is portrayed in Egyptian traditions drawn from the vision of the initiates. I have already pointed out that the older representations of Isis were as follows:

  • Isis is suckling Horus; but
  • behind her stands a second Isis with vulture wings, who holds out the Ankh to Horus to indicate that man stems from a time when these types were still separate and that later the other astral being also sank down into man. This second Isis points to how the astral element predominated at one time. What was later united with the human form is here portrayed behind the mother, as the astral form that would have had vulture wings if it had followed only the astrality.
  • But the time when the etheric body predominated is portrayed in a third Isis, lion-headed, behind the others.

This threefold Isis is thus presented out of a deep vision.

From this point of view we shall also understand something else. There must have been a period of transition between unisexuality and the division into two sexes; there could have been an interim condition between the virginal propagation in which fructification occurred as a result of the forces living in the earth — which at the same time were fertilizing substances — and the other method of bisexual propagation. This bisexual propagation emerged completely only in the middle of the Atlantean epoch. Earlier there was an intermediate stage. At a certain epoch in this intermediate stage, a change of consciousness took place. Man then required much longer spans of time than today to go through an alternation of consciousness. That was a time in which consciousness was especially strong when, at night, man experienced himself as a spiritual being among his spiritual companions. Day-consciousness, on the other hand, was weak. This condition of consciousness changed in another period, when man's consciousness while in the physical body became strong, while his soul life became weaker upon leaving the physical plane at night.

Now there were times in human evolution in which we must recognize a transitional stage. Man's consciousness for the physical world was still damped down, and it was in this damped-down state that fructification occurred. In the periods of subdued consciousness, when Man rose out of the physical world into the spiritual, fructification took place, and man noticed this only through a symbolical dream-act. In tender, noble fashion he felt that fertilization had occurred in his sleep, and in his consciousness there was only a delicate and wonderful dream; for example, that he threw a stone, that the stone fell into the earth, and that a flower rose out of the earth.


[myth of the goddess Nerthus (Hertha)]

One may say that these men lived in Paradise. We find that the men who descended earliest to earth had especially strongly formed bodies, with crude and brutal countenances; while the men who wished first to mold the nobler parts had a much more human form. What is here described was preserved in a wonderful myth and rite. The rite is mentioned by Tacitus† and is well known as the myth of the goddess Nerthus (Hertha), who descended every year into the sea in a boat. But those who drew the boat had to be killed. Nerthus is thought of (as is often done today) as a phantom of the imagination, as some kind of goddess to whom a cult had been dedicated on some island. It has been believed that the Nerthus shrine could be found in Lake Hertha on Rügen. It was thought that the place where the chariot sank might be found there. This is a remarkable fantasy. The name of Lake Hertha is a new invention. Earlier it was called the Black Lake because of its color, and it never occurred to anyone to call it Lake Hertha and relate it to the goddess.

There are much deeper things in this myth.

Nerthus is the transitional stage between the virginal fructification and the later propagation. Nerthus, who dives down into a shadowy consciousness, perceives her immersion in the sea of passion only in a tender, symbolic act; she perceives only a reflection of it. But although the higher humanity still felt things in this way, those who had already descended at that time had lost their original naïveté. They already saw this act; they were lost for the higher human consciousness, and were worthy of death. The memory of this event of primeval times was preserved in rites in countless regions of Europe. A ceremony was carried out at certain times in commemorative festivals. This was the chariot of the Nerthus image, which dived down into the sea of passion, and it was the gruesome custom that those who had to serve, who drew the chariot and could see what went on, had to be slaves and were killed during the rite, as a sign that these were mortals who saw the act. Only the initiated priests could remain present during the ceremony without being harmed. From this example we see that in the time when what is here described was known in certain regions, the Nerthus cult existed. In these regions there was a consciousness that shaped this myth and the rite.


.. we can truly say that the contrast between masculine and feminine has its cosmic archetype in the contrast between comet and moon. If we could proceed from this (it is not, of course, possible to go into all the ramifications) and could demonstrate the full effect of the body of the moon and of the comets, you would realize how great and powerful it is for the soul — how it surpasses all general feelings of sublimity — to experience that here on earth we see something reflected and that this, in its functioning, is an exact expression of the contrast between comet and moon in the universe. It is possible to indicate only a few of these matters. A few are very important, and to these we will allude.

Above all, we must become conscious of how the contrast expressed in comet and moon works upon the human being. We must not think that this contrast expresses itself only in what constitutes man and woman in humanity, because we must be clear that masculine characteristics exist in every woman and feminine characteristics in every man. We also know that the etheric body of man is female and that of the woman, male, and this at once makes the matter extremely complicated. We must realize that the masculine-feminine contrast is thus reversed for the etheric bodies of man and woman, and so are the cometary and lunar effects. These effects are also there in relation to the astral body and the I. Hence the contrast between comet and moon is of deep, incisive significance for the evolution of humanity on earth. The fact that the Moon evolution has a mysterious connection with the relationship of the sexes, a connection that eludes exoteric ways of thinking, you can recognize in something that might seem entirely accidental, namely, that the product of the union of male and female, the child, needs ten lunar months for its development from conception to birth. Even modern science reckons not with solar but with lunar months, because there the relation between the moon, representing the masculine in the universe and the earth, and the cometary nature, representing the feminine in the universe, is decisive, reflecting itself in the product of the sexes.

If we now regard this from the other side, from the comets, we have another important consequence for the evolution of humanity. The cometary nature is as though feminine, and in the movements of the comets, in the whole style of their appearance from time to time, we have a kind of projection of the archetype of the feminine nature in the cosmos. It is something that really gives the impression of having come to a halt before reaching the normal, average stage of evolution. This cosmic feminine — the expression is not quite apt, but we lack suitable terms — shoots in from time to time like something that stirs up our existence from the depths of a nature existing before the dawn of history. In the mode of its appearance, a comet resembles the feminine.

We can also express it this way: as what is done by a woman more out of passion, out of feeling, is related to the dry, reasonable, masculine judgment, so is the regular, reasonable course of the moon related to the cometary phenomenon that projects apparently irregularly into our existence. This is the peculiarity of feminine spiritual life. Mark well — I do not mean the spiritual life of woman but the feminine spiritual life. There is a difference. The spiritual life of a woman naturally includes masculine characteristics.

Feminine spiritual life, whether in a man or a woman, projects into our existence something of the primitive, something elemental, and this is also what a comet does. Wherever this contrast between man and woman confronts us, we can see it, because it expresses itself with uncommon clarity.

[Masculine vs feminine brain]

People who judge everything by externals criticize spiritual science because many women are drawn to it at the present time.

They do not comprehend that this is quite understandable simply because the average brain of a man has overstepped a certain average point of evolution; it has become drier, more wooden, and therefore clings more rigidly to traditional concepts; it cannot free itself of the prejudices in which it is stuck. Someone who is studying spiritual science may at times feel it difficult that in this incarnation he must use this masculine brain! The masculine brain is stiff, resistant, and more difficult to manipulate than the feminine brain, which can easily overcome obstacles that the masculine brain, with its density, erects. Hence the feminine brain can more readily follow what is new in our way of looking at the world. To the extent to which the masculine and feminine principles come to expression in the structure of the human brain, it can even be said that for our present time it is most uncomfortable and unpleasant to be obliged to use a masculine brain. The masculine brain must be trained much more carefully, much more radically, than a feminine brain. You can thus see that it is not really so extraordinary that women today find their bearings more easily in something as eminently new as spiritual science.

These matters are of the greatest importance in the history of culture, but one can hardly discuss them anywhere today except in anthroposophical circles. Except in our circles, who will take seriously the fact that to have a masculine brain is not so comfortable as to have a feminine brain? This, naturally, does not imply by any means that many a brain in a woman's body has not thoroughly masculine traits.


I have told you how the birth of conscience can clearly be traced to a certain period of Greek culture. In the works of Aeschylus, what we call 'conscience' played no part; there were only remembrances of the avenging Furies, and not until we come to the works of Euripedes is there any clear expression of 'conscience' as we know it now. The concept of conscience arose only very gradually during the Graeco-Latin epoch. I have told you that the concept of wonder arises for the first time when men begin to philosophise in the world of Graeco-Latin culture. And a remarkable fact in the spiritual evolution of Earth-existence throws far-reaching light upon what we know as compassion, and also, in the true sense, love.

In the age of materialism it is exceedingly difficult to maintain in true and right perspective, this concept of compassion or love. Many of you will realise that in our materialistic times this concept is distorted, in that materialism associates the concept of 'love' so closely with that of 'sexuality' with which, fundamentally, it has nothing whatever to do. That is a point where the culture of our day abandons both intelligence and sound, healthy reason. Through its materialism, evolution in our time is veering not only towards the unintelligent and illogical but even towards the scandalous, when 'love' is dragged into such close association with what is covered by the term 'sexuality'. The fact that under certain circumstances the element of sexuality may be associated with love between man and woman is no argument for bringing so closely together the all-embracing nature of love or compassion, and the entirely specific character of sexuality.

So far as logic is concerned, to associate the concept of, say, a 'railway engine' with that of a man being 'run over', because engines do sometimes run over people, would be just about as intelligent as it is to connect the concept of love so closely with that of sexuality — simply because under certain circumstances there is an outward association. That this happens today is not the outcome of any scientific hypothesis but of the irrational and, to some extent, unhealthy mode of thinking prevailing in our time.


[Mystery wisdom of the Ingaevones]

Let me briefly sketch these ancient customs once again. Among the Ingaevones the life of the people was firmly guided by the Mystery centre which laid down the season when provision could be made for procreation. The union of man with woman was permitted only in the days of spring, around the first full moon after the spring equinox. It was approximately the time we now call Easter time. The remainder of the year was taboo as far as human reproduction was concerned, and those born at a time which showed that their conception had been out of season were regarded, in a way, as not quite proper people.

So the births of people conceived at the correct time all came together in the middle of winter, just after our present Christmas time. All those regarded by the Ingaevones as fully human had to be born at this time. The births had to fall at the time of the darkest winter days, when the trees were covered in snow and the people confined to their primitive homesteads. To use the language of today, every child was in a way a Christmas child, a child of the winter solstice.

This affected people’s frame of mind and soul. Because nothing to do with procreation occurred at other times of the year, the old dream-conscious clairvoyance was preserved.

And when the time of conception approached as the permitted spring days drew near, conditions of unconsciousness took over. Conception was brought about in a state of unconsciousness, not in waking consciousness. The woman who was conceiving was truly conscious, however, of the visionary appearance of a spiritual being descending from spiritual worlds to announce the coming child. These women even foresaw the face of the coming child. And this annunciation, as we saw, is echoed in the time of the Luke gospel in the annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel. We saw that there even exists a fragment of an Anglo-Saxon rune song which tells of what existed in the old consciousness and that on the Jutland peninsula there really was a Mystery centre which then migrated eastwards.


You see, forming in these tribes, as it were the skeleton, out of which the gospels later created the life of Christ Jesus. These communities lived in very ancient times. Only symbols of what had gone before come down to later ages.

Thus the vision of the annunciation of the child to the mother came down to later ages as the worship of Nerthus, of Ertha. And the fact that the act of conception had to take place unconsciously in olden times is still hinted at in the Nerthus myth told by Tacitus a hundred years after the birth of Jesus. He describes how Ertha, who is male-female, not only female, for she is the same as the god Nerthus, arrives in her chariot; in other words, she is none other than the angel of the annunciation. Then those who have served her have to be drowned in the sea, slain. This is an echo of the submergence into unconsciousness of the act of conception in those ancient days.


It shows that in a time not all that far ahead, possibly as early as the seventh millennium, all women will be infertile on earth. The withering and crumbling of human bodies will go so far that this will happen. Just think — if the relationships that can only come into their own between the inner life and the physical body were to continue unchanged, people would no longer find anything to do on earth. The fact is that women will no longer be able to have children, even before the earth has gone through all its stages. Human beings therefore have to find a different way of relating to earthly existence. The final stages of earth evolution will make it necessary for them to do without physical bodies and yet be present on earth. Existence holds more mysteries than people would like to think when they base themselves on the primitive ideas of modern science.


lecture 6 in this cycle

As you know, the human being descends from the cosmos in a definite state. From the spiritual cosmos he enters the etheric cosmos. Now I am still speaking of the etheric cosmos alone; the physical aspect of the stars is, in this connections, taken less into consideration, as is, likewise, the physical aspect of the moon. The essential moment when the human being decides to descend to the earth depends, as I have stated, upon the phase of the moon during this descent, and thus it may happen that he exposes himself to a decisive new moon in order to become a man, or to a decisive full moon to become a woman.

But then - since the descent is not made so very rapidly, but he remains exposed for some time - if he is descending through the new moon as a man, he may still, for one reason or another, decide to expose himself to the coming full moon. Thus he has made the decision to descend as a male; he has made use to this end of the forces of the new moon; but, during his descent, he still has at his disposal the remainder of the moon's cycle, the phase of the full moon.

He then fills himself with lunar forces in such a way that they do not affect his condition as man or woman, but rather the organization of his head, and what is connected with the organization of his head from without, from the cosmos, if that constellation occurs of which I have just spoken.

Thus, after the human being has made the decision; “I shall become a man through the time of the new moon”, and continues living in the cosmos, so that he has not passed completely through the lunar influence but is still exposed to the next full moon, then, through the influence of the lunar forces in this condition he will, for instance, have brown eyes and black hair. Thus we may say that the manner in which the human being passes the moon determines not only his sex, but also the color of his eyes and hair. If, for instance, the human being has passed the full moon as a woman and is later exposed to a new moon, the result may be a woman with blue eyes and blond hair.


L6 - tbc





Shelly Trimmer

in response to a question by Ray Grasse in 1977-78, see 'An Infinity of Gods' - see More sources on the topic of initiation

We don't always have to occupy the same gender body forever and ever. …

In fact, there are those who are changing their sex right within this lifetime, in this physical body.

In other words, we don't always change gender on the astral plane between lives, we can even start the changeover here. Which is why we have those who are called transsexuals. We may have a woman who's really a man in a woman's body, while she doesn't feel like a woman, she does have a woman's body. But if that feeling goes on long enough, she'll become a transsexual, and she'll change that.

The important thing is, we should have tolerance of others.


Various subtopics and perspectives

from an internet forum:

.. we bear the responsibility, for our sakes, and that of our children and grandchildren, to educate ourselves through spiritual insights on this subject, to inform wisely, counteracting what in the main the younger generation is exposed to, even coerced into mimicking, like lambs to the slaughter, with regards the aberrations and misuse of sexual forces.

Interactive discussion

See the page: D00.001 - topics of gender and sexuality

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Paul W. Scharff: 'Sexuality And The Human Makeup' (PDF)
  • Stefan Leber, Wolfgang Schad, Andreas Suchantke: 'Die Geschlechtlichkeit des Menschen: Gesichtspunkte zu ihrer pädagogischen Behandlung' (1981, 1989)
  • Athys Floride (1924-2005): Le mystère de la sexualité et l'avenir de l'humanité (2003 in FR, in DE 2010 as 'Die spirituelle Verwandlung der Liebeskräfte als Voraussetzung zur Weltverjüngung im Sinne von Novalis')
  • Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, Virginia Sease: 'The Archetypal Feminine in the Mystery Stream of Humanity' (2010) - contents
  • Sexuality, love and partnership (from the perspective of spiritual science), by Rudolf Steiner, compiled and edited by Margaret Jonas (2011)
  • Iwer Thor Lorenzen: 'Basic questions of evolution', Chapter 5
  • Norbert Glas:
    • 'Sexualismus, Eine Zeitkrankheit und ihre Überwindung' (essay 1980, published 2018)
      • posthumous publishing of an essay by Norbert Glas (in 1980, aged 84) with comments by Olaf Koob
    • 'Otto Weininger und die moderne Geschlechterfrage' (published 2018)
      • biograpy of the philosopher Otto Weininger, whose influential breakthrough book 'Sex and character - a fundamental investigation' (that openly discussed bisexuality) was published in 1903 and also led to Weiniger's suicide that very year.
  • Sexuality and the World's Religions (editors: David Wayne Machacek, Melissa M. Wilcox)