Hyperborean epoch

From Anthroposophy

The Hyperborean epoch was the second epoch in the current Earth cycle (CoF or globe).

The major event that took place was the separation of the Sun with the Earth body (including the Moon).


Earth and nature in the Hyperborean epoch - before separation Sun

Note the separation of the Sun is described by Rudolf Steiner to have taken place at the start of the Hyperborean epoch, without further specification. This might well place the description below into the Polarian epoch.

  • The earth, sun and moon, if observed from outside, would have looked like a gigantic brain but softer and slimier, a body filled with life that consisted of millions of interlaced soft oysters that reproduced con­stantly. Each huge oyster reproduced very quickly and generated an offspring of upto a million of its own descendants in a very short time. The older ones dissolved again. (1922-09-27-GA347)
  • For a description of these huge oysters, see also Earth and nature in the Lemurian epoch - before separation Moon. The description given there is not timed explicitly, but described as 'before the Separation of Moon' and after separation of the Sun, and so flows from the Hyperborean into the Lemurian epoch.

Separation of the Sun

see: Separation of Sun

Earth and nature in the Hyperborean epoch - after separation Sun

  • the nature of the Earth and its kingdoms
    • Man was still unified with birds and lower mammals, birds separated off and became an own species within the air (not yet as later, but still containing the mammal aspect); basis for later amphibians such as the Ichthyosaurus and others. Initially these flying dragons were beautiful, they only became decadent during later densification (1904-12-27-GA090A)
    • in the hyperborean age the invertebrate animals split off (1907-11-22-GA100)
  • the destruction and end of Hyperborean epoch through volcanic fire

Man in the Hyperborean epoch

  • a race of human beings who had airlike bodies and plantlike form (1909-05-15-GA104a)
  • in terms of senses (1904-11-02-GA089)
    • were first able to detect differences in temperature (as air can be compressed into warm and cold) through a sense of feeling, via a temperature organ of the head, which projected like an lantern from the top of the head
    • later this changed into an organ of vision, the single eye of the Cyclops (incandescent and projecting in earlier times, now became the atrophied pineal gland)
  • Man took up the astral in himself so as to form himself

Guidance of mankind

  • In the Hyperborean epoch the Sons of the Sun were in position to incarnate, and they formed a particularly beautiful race: solar pitris became the beautiful Sun Men or Apollo-men, who had already attained the upright posture, completely transforming the Hyperborean bodies. This the other human beings were unable to do. (1905-10-25-GA093A)


Schema FMC00.462A presents the development of Man through the transitions of the separation of Sun and Moon.

At the end of the early text '1903-GA089 - Draft of a spiritual-scientific cosmology - Fragment from 1903/04', Rudolf Steiner describes various aspects explicitly before and after separation from Sun and Moon. The schema organizes these in tabular format to present them in a graphical layout and logic, for reference and study.


FMC00.369 shows the esoteric fish symbol, ichthys in Greek, used by the early Christians in the roman cultural age. It represents the Man-Christ-form, as Man had attained the physical form of the fish when the Sun separated from the Earth, and he had attained that stage of development through the workings of the Sun that was still one with the Earth and Moon, and included the Christ as the highest of the guiding Sun Spirits. The symbol sometimes also refers to the Earth before (or at the time of) the separation of the Sun.


Lecture coverage and references


The Hyperboreans were made of air matter.

They were able to detect differences in temperature by means of a sense of feeling.

Further condensation of the Earth made bodies more solid at first, and finally incandescent. Outwardly this could look like a flame.

The sense of sight developed, and this happened in such a way that the temperature organ of the head, which projected like an lantern from the top of the head, changed into an organ of vision. This was later going to be the pineal body, atrophied today, but incandescent and projecting in earlier times - the single eye of the Cyclops.

Further condensation of the Earth caused this eye to go through involution, with two eyes taking the place of the one, though they only developed fully in Atlantean times.Up to the third sub race of the Atlantean age there would always still be people who had developed their one eye (the eye of Cyclops) and were using it for clairvoyant vision.


quote A

During the Hyperborean Period the whole again divided: one part severed itself and the Earth emerged out of the Sun.

It is at this point that the Kant-Laplace theory is relevant. The Earth was in a nebulous condition coinciding with the Kant-Laplace theory. The outer appearance seemed like the rings around Saturn.

Now the second or Hyperborean Race evolved. Gradually the seeds of the Moon-Men appeared on the Earth, the Pitris in various degrees of perfection. They all still had the possibility of reproducing themselves through self-fertilisation.

quote B

During the Age which preceded the Lemurian Age, we have the Hyperborean epoch on Earth, that of the Sun Men, of the Apollo-Men. They were formed out of a still nobler and even more delicate substance.


When now in the second Epoch of the Fourth Round the Hyperboreans lived in their soft forms, these Sons of the Sun were in position to incarnate and they formed a particularly beautiful Race. They were the Solar Pitris. Already in the Hyperborean Epoch they created for themselves an upright form, completely transforming the Hyperborean bodies.

This the other human beings were unable to do. In the Hyperborean Epoch the Solar Pitris became the beautiful Apollo-men, who in the Second Race had already attained the upright posture.

1906-09-GA095 Q&A

Why did the first Christians have the Fish as their symbol, besides the Lamb?

Among the fishes, especially Amphioxus, the spinal marrow began to take form. Man was once at the stage when he had the fish nature still within himself; he was wholly a soul-being and worked on his body from outside. Then he separated the fishes from himself. Later on the brain was formed out of the spinal marrow.

[Goethe already knew this. Dr. Steiner found the relevant pencil sketch drawn in a notebook while he was working in the Goethe Archives in Weimar.]

In this way man becomes a Self. But the Self is ennobled by Christianity and hence the Fish is the symbol for the early Christians. The story of Jonah indicates the same thing. Jonah — Man — is at first outside the fishes: this means the soul working on the body from the outside. Then he becomes a Self and enters into the fish — the physical body. Through Initiation the physical body is again left aside.


At one time there was, in fact, such a nebula; and in this all the parts of our solar system were as if dissolved. But, bound up with this nebula, so that they belonged to it, were all the beings mentioned in the course of our observations yesterday. For example, all the beings who passed through the human stage in the twenty-four Rounds were connected with this cosmic nebula. Other beings too were bound up with it. They all dwelt in this nebula which, if not thought of in connection with these beings, is a fantastic abstraction. In the way the materialistic chemist imagines this nebula, it is impossible; it exists only in thought, there is no reality. In reality, the nebula only exists because it is inhabited by a number of spiritual beings. For when this nebula again became visible, there were connected with it all the beings who once inhabited Old Saturn, who then passed through the various stages of evolution through Old Sun and Old Moon right on up to Earth, when after a long intermediate pause the Earth-nebula arose, so to speak. The other beings also with whom we became acquainted on the Sun, were connected with this nebula. It is the whole choir of these beings, who filled the nebula, who produced the movements. For it is beings who create their field of work.

For example, there were beings who needed a dwelling place quite different from that of man if they were to undergo the evolution suited to them. The men who lived upon the ancient Moon as the ancestors of the present men had only physical body, etheric and astral bodies. With these three members of their being they came out of the so-called pralaya again like a plant from the seed. Thus when the entire system began it was unsuitable for the beings who had brought with them the germs for the present man. Had the speed of development been maintained which our solar system had at the beginning when it came forth from the cosmic twilight, man would have been unable to find the path of his evolution. It would have been as if you were now to be born and then in a very short time become old. If the speed of evolution natal to the Sun had been maintained, man would have grown old quickly; he would be unable to take the slow course through the decades which he now actually does; after a short time he would have white hair, he would be old almost before he was a child.

But this was not to be. There were beings who needed a quicker tempo. These only went through a part of evolution with man, then they took out the heavenly body which now stands as the sun in the heavens and made it their dwelling place. They drew out the substance of the sun together with their own being. For the sun which sends its light to us today is inhabited by spiritual beings, just as our earth is. With every sunbeam descending to the earth come the actions of those spiritual beings who in the course of the evolutions of Saturn, Sun and Moon had progressed so far that they were able to participate in the rapid development taking place on the present sun. High, exalted beings were connected with this sun existence at the beginning of our earth development. These separated from the earth; and that which then remained you must imagine as if you had mixed together the present moon and earth in a great cauldron, and this mingled earth and moon circled round the sun for a time.

Thus before we reached the point described yesterday as human incarnation, we have first to recognize the separation of the sun from the earth, that is, the present earth plus the present moon. Upon the sun remained the beings who are the spiritual directors of earthly events. When they came over from Old Moon there were seven such beings; in Genesis they are called Elohim, Spirits of Light. For a time they went through their evolution together with the earth, then they drew forth the sun so that they could now work upon the earth from the sun. These Elohim, these Spirits of Light, were seven in number.

Six of them united their existence with the actual cosmic sun, and one, known in the Old Testament as Jehovah, separated from them and remained at first united with the earth. He guided and directed the earthly evolution from within, while the others worked upon it from without. That was the position for a time.

But after what was pointed out yesterday concerning Old Moon, you will understand that with the withdrawal of the sun was connected a condensation of all that emerged as earth plus moon. There came a period in the earth's evolution when not only the substance, but all beings, underwent a coarsening. For example, the beings who later became man, who at that time were very soft and delicate, underwent a coarsening through taking on horrible instincts. A coarsening of all life took place.

[ leading to separation of the Moon]


[Separation Sun, incl Christ – symbol of the Fish]

Now the great beings, the leaders of evolution, departed as they shaped their sun, to reunite with the earth only at a much later time. One of the Spirits, one who went out with the sun, the highest of the guiding Sun Spirits, was the Christ. We feel a deep reverence when we realize that up to this time Man was united with this Being who, as the noblest spirit, once departed from the Earth with the sun.

One felt that through the form of the fish one could characterize the time of the sun's departure from the earth, and also the forms given through the Christ himself. Earlier, Man on Earth was united with the sun, and as the latter departed he saw, preserved in the fish-shape, the form that he owed to the sun spirits. As he progressed further, the sun spirits were no longer with him.

The Christ departed from the earth when man still had the fish-shape. The initiates of the first Christian period preserved this form. In the Roman catacombs the fish appeared as the symbol of Christ, to remind men of the great cosmic event in evolution when the Christ was still united with them in the earth.

Man had progressed to the fish-form when the sun split off, and the first Christians felt a reference to the Man-Christ-form in the fish symbol as something of great profundity. Such a significant sign, which we view as a symbol of an epoch of cosmic evolution, is far removed from the external explanations that are often given. The true symbols refer to higher spiritual realities. They did not merely “mean” something to the early Christians. Such a symbol is a picture of this or that which one can really see in the spiritual world, and no symbol is rightly interpreted unless one can point to what can be seen in the spiritual world in connection with it. All speculation is at most preparatory, and the expression “it means” does not touch the point; for one first really understands the symbol when one shows how a spiritual fact is portrayed in it.


Then there was a time when the Earth had shed Old Saturn but the sun, moon, and earth remained together as one body. At that time human beings were present in their bodily nature as forms made of air. All the power that comes from the sun came forth at that time from within the earth. Everything came from within outward.

Only after the sun had separated from the Earth did it begin to shine upon it from outside. Therefore, we have a second epoch in human evolution when the human being had an existence as a form made of air as well as a plantlike form.

[Here there is a gap in the manuscript. The Moon condition and the Polarian and Hyperborean ages are described.]

Then the third age comes, the Lemurian age, when the moon leaves the earth and the beings of the moon work into the earth from outside it.


The Polarian age was followed by the Hyperborean age, with a race of human beings who had airlike bodies. The sun had separated from the Earth and now worked from outside.


If we now follow up the course of the Earth evolution we may ask how the separate classes of spiritual beings participate in its progress. Spiritual beings at different stages of evolution directed the processes of the separation of the Sun and Moon from the earth, as a result of which that progress came to pass.

We have first to consider a class of spiritual beings which attained a certain stage of evolution during the Old Sun period; they belong to the Old Sun evolution because it was destined to provide a field of action for them. These are beings which separated the sun from the earth during the Earth period, because during Old Sun they were Sun-bound in the same way as humanity is now Earthbound. As we have seen, they needed the Sun for their further evolution and with the Sun they left the Earth in order to work upon the latter from without.

When the Sun spirits had withdrawn the Saturn and Moon spirits were left on the Earth. The development of the Saturn spirits was such that they could direct and guide the separation of the Moon from the Earth; they had passed through the same stage on Old Saturn as the Sun spirits had done on the Old Sun; their maturity had preceded that of the Sun spirits, and they were therefore able to separate the Moon from the Earth and to stimulate from within the inner development of man, who, otherwise, would have hardened and become mummified.

It may be said that the withdrawal of the Sun was brought about by the Sun spirits, and that of the Moon by the Saturn spirits. The Sun is a cosmic symbol for the act of the Sun spirits, the Moon for that of the Saturn spirits. And what is left upon the earth itself Spirits of the Old Moon period.

It will be useful at this point to bear in mind a definite epoch of the Earth evolution; that at which the Moon had just left the Earth. The Earth, from which the Sun had withdrawn still earlier, was then in a very different condition from that of today. If the Earth had then been in an exactly similar state to that of today, the whole process would have been unnecessary.

It was compared to the present mineral vegetable, animal and human kingdoms — very imperfect in that early period. The various continents had not separated off from each other everything was in a kind of chaos. Super-sensible sight would search in vain at that period for the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms as they are today. These forms have all developed as a result of the influence of the Sun and the Moon from without, and this was the purpose of the withdrawal of these two bodies. The influences which worked upon the Earth from the Sun and the Moon charmed from it, as it were, everything that has since arisen upon it and all that surrounds us today. The outer forms of the minerals, the plants, the animals and of physical man have been produced by the beings which work from the Sun; whereas the beings which work from the Moon have stimulated the soul life of men and of animals. This is an approximate and broad sketch of evolution from the so-called Lemurian epoch on into that of Atlantis. It was during the Atlantean epoch that, very slowly and gradually, the Earth began to wear an appearance more or less similar to that which we see around us today. It is necessary, therefore, to distinguish in the course of the Earth evolution since the withdrawal of the Moon, between a chaotic Earth and an organised one which has been influenced by the Spiritual beings in its environment.


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. Indeed, there was a time when the entire sun was inside the earth.

Now you may object that according to physicists the sun is so terribly hot that, had it been inside the earth, it would have burned everything. Well you know this only from physicists, who would be greatly astonished if they could see what the sun really looks like. If they were to construct a balloon and travel up there, they would not find the sun so very hot. They would find it filled with life forces. The heat develops when the sun's rays move through air and other matter.

When the sun was still inside the earth, it was filled with life forces. Then it bestowed upon the earth not only the limited amount of life forces it provides today, but it could supply plants and animals with an abundance of these forces. At that time the ancient oysters did not grow shells, but consisted merely of slime.

Try to picture sun and moon both contained in the earth and oysters that had no shells, but were slime.

When lumps of this substance separated off, new oysters developed, and so forth. They were so huge and lay right next to each other so that you could not have told them apart.

What did the earth look like at that time?

It looked like our brain, whose cells also lie next to each other. The only difference is that these cells die off, whereas at that very ancient time the huge oyster cells were one next to the other, and the sun constantly developed forces, because it was inside the earth.

Yes, the earth was here [drawing], and there was a giant oyster, another one next to it, and many such huge lumps of slime, which continuously pro­pagated. Even in our time oysters multiply at such a fast rate that within a short period of time they can have a million offspring. The oysters in those ancient days pro­created even faster. Hardly had an oyster developed than it had its offspring, which in turn did the same and so on. The older ones had to dissolve eventually.

If you had looked at the earth from the outside, you would have seen that the huge mass of the earth resembled a gigantic brain, only softer and slimier than our brains. You could have observed one of the gigantic oysters reprodu­cing its kind very quickly; and, of course, each offspring in turn could produce a million of its own descendants in a very short time. Clearly the oysters had to defend them­selves against each other, because they were all so close together.

As a curious onlooker, watching from another planet, you would have noticed a huge body in space, a body filled with life. It not only consisted of millions of interlaced soft oysters, but these also reproduced con­stantly.

What would you have seen in fact? You would have seen the same thing - on a gigantic scale, mind you - that you see when you look at the tiny fertilized egg cell out of which human beings develop. There you see the same process in miniature. These minute, one-celled slime ves­icles also reproduce rapidly. Otherwise the human foetus would not be able to grow to its proper size in the first few weeks after conception. The cells are so small that they must reproduce rapidly. If you had looked at the earth at that ancient time, it would have resembled a gigantic creature that contained within it the forces of the sun and of the moon.

.. now I have shown you how we can go back in our imagination to the time when the earth, sun, and moon still formed one body.


Related pages

References and further reading

Andreas Delor (publisher) and Pascale Aeby (1966-2012)

  • Delor published 8 volumes of over 3900 pages in total, the first five focus on Atlantis, volumes 6 and 7 are on Lemuria, and volume 8 is on the first two epochs, the Hyperborean and Polarian.
  • Atlantis: nach neuesten hellsichtigen und wissenschaftlichen Quellen (8 volumes)
    • Band 8 - Die Hyperboräische- und Polarische-Epoche (2016)