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

  • the separation of the Sun is a crucial event in the development of the Earth:
    • it takes place at the beginning of the Hyperborean epoch (1905-03-18-GA090B, 1905-10-25-GA093A) the moment that corresponds with the start of the Book of Genesis in the Bible (1910-08-17-GA122)
    • this is what enabled and caused the solid element - what we today call matter - to begin to condense on Earth (1910-08-17-GA122)
    • the withdrawal of the Sun was brought about by the Sun spirits (1909-08-26-GA113)
    • we now get two kinds of spiritual beings: certain spiritual beings remained connected with the Earth, others remained with the Sun (because they had evolved beyond earthly connections and could not complete their further evolution on Earth) and sent their active forces down to Earth from the Sun. The spiritual part and higher ethers left the Earth also. (1910-09-12-GA123)
      • Six of the SoF (or Elohim) went with the Sun, one (known as Jehovah) stayed with the Earth for some time (upto separation Moon) (1908-06-23-GA104)
    • at time of departure of the Sun, the earth began to turn on its axis giving periods that the Sun would shine or not shine upon earth, dus day and night periods began - albeit much longer than today (1908-09-09-GA106)
    • the fish symbol or Ichthys:
      • The Christ was one the highest of the guiding Sun Spirits who went out with the Sun; up to this time Man - who then had the fish shape, was united with the Christ. The initiates of the first Christian period preserved this in the fish symbol representing the Man-Christ-form. (1908-09-10-GA106)
      • The symbol appears in Christian art and literature around the 2nd century AD and its use as a sacred symbol spread widely upto the 4th century AD.

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 FMC00.317 is a BBD by Rudolf Steiner of the Earth before the separation of the Sun: the Sun was a much larger body that contained the Earth with the Moon.


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.


mentions explicitly that at the beginning of the Hyperborean epoch, the Sun split off, which brought about a terrible catastrophe on Earth


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.


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]


[Turning axis, begin of day and night]

At the same time that the sun went out from the earth, the earth began to turn on its axis so that at one time one side of the earth would be shone upon by the sun, and at another time it would not be shone upon; thus day and night began. But at that time, the days and nights were much longer than today.


[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.


During the Old Moon existence there takes place this separation into a part which is Sun and a part which retains the Old Moon nature. It is only when we come to the fourth stage of our planetary evolution that the earth element is added to the earlier warmth, gaseous and watery elements. In order that this solid element could come into existence, the division which had taken place previously during the Old Moon evolution had first to repeat itself. Once again the sun had to withdraw. Thus there is a certain moment in the evolution of our planet when, out of the universal complication of fire and air and water, the denser, more earthy element separates from the finer, gaseous element of the sun; and it is only in this earthy element that what we today call solid is able to form Let us concentrate on this moment, when the sun withdraws from its former state of union with the rest of the planet and begins to send its forces to the earth from without. Let us bear in mind that this was what made it possible, within the earth, for the solid element — what we today call matter — to begin to condense. If we fix this moment firmly in our minds we have the point of time at which Genesis, the creation story, begins. This is what it is describing.


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.


talks about the separation of the Sun

To understand this in connection with our spiritual evolution on earth, we must recall how in the time of its early beginnings the Earth was united with the Sun, from which it is now separated. Anthroposophists know, of course, that this does not refer merely to a separation of the substance of the Earth from the substance of the Sun, but with the going forth of divine beings who were associated with the Sun or with the other planets.)

After this separation of the Sun, certain spiritual beings remained connected with the Earth, while others remained with the Sun, because they had evolved beyond earthly connections, and could not complete their further cosmic evolution on the Earth. Thus we have the fact that

  • one kind of spiritual being remained connected with the Earth,
  • while other spiritual beings sent their active forces down to Earth from the Sun.

After the departure of the Sun from the Earth we have, as it were, two spheres of activity, that of the Earth with its beings and that of the Sun with its beings. The Spiritual Beings who served mankind from a higher sphere are those who chose the Sun as their dwelling-place, and from this realm come the beings who have united themselves from time to time with earthly humanity so that they might aid the further evolution — both of Earth and man.

In the myths of various peoples we constantly find reference to such ‘Sun-heroes’ who have descended from spiritual realms to participate in human evolution; and a man who is filled by such a Sun-being is something far more than from outward seeming he would appear to be. The outward appearance of such a man is deceptive — it is Maya; but behind the Maya is the real being who can only be guessed at by those who can penetrate to the profoundest depths of such a nature. In the Mysteries people knew, and still know, of this twofold fact concerning the path of human evolution.

People distinguish now, as they distinguished in the past,

  • divine beings who descend to Earth from spiritual spheres, and
  • men who strive upwards from the Earth towards initiation into spiritual mysteries.

and then the paragraph about the spiritual part leaving also

.. at the time when the earth was separated from the sun, and the beings whose supreme Leader is the Christ withdrew from the earth, there were beings who let their influences spread gradually over the earth, just as the Christ, in the course of time, has allowed His influence to be felt on earth.

But we must not forget something else, which is, that

  • the nature of Old Saturn as regards substantiality was relatively much simpler than that of the planetary bodies that arose later. It consisted of fire or warmth, there was neither air nor water there, neither was there light-ether.
  • This light-ether came with the Sun-evolution.
  • Then, when later this passed over into the Old Moon stage, the watery element appeared as a further densification, on one hand, and sound or tone-ether as a further refinement on the other.
  • Solid substance was added to these during the evolution of the Earth; this condition arose as a further densification; life-ether being added at the same time as a further refinement.

We have therefore on the Earth: warmth, air or gaseous substance, water or fluid substance, and solids or earthly substance. Opposed to these as finer conditions we have light-ether, tone-ether, and life-ether, this last being the finest etheric condition known to us.

Now with the departure of the Sun from the Earth, not only the material part of the Sun left but the spiritual part left also. It was only later, and by degrees, that this returned to the earth, and it did not return entirely.

[I spoke of this at Munich when lecturing on the Six Days of Creation, so I will only touch on it here.]

  • Of the higher etheric substances man is only aware of warmth and light-ether. What he perceives as ‘sound’ is but a reflection, a materialization, of the real tone that is in tone-ether.
  • When tone-ether is spoken of we refer to the bearer of what is known as ‘The harmony of the spheres,’ and is only to be heard clairaudiently. The Sun certainly sends its light to the earth, in so far as this is physical, but a higher condition also lives in the Sun. In Goethe's FAUST — Prologue in Heaven we read: ‘The sun-orb sings, in emulation, Mid brother-spheres, his ancient round: His path predestined through Creation, He ends with step of thunder-sound.’ This refers to sphere-harmony, to that which lives in the sound-ether, and can only be heard by man when he has attained initiation, or when a Sun-being descends in order to hold intercourse with one who has been chosen to become an instrument for the further evolution of others. For such a one the Sun begins to resound, and the sphere-harmonies to be heard.
  • Above the tone-ether lies the life-ether. Just as the ‘word’ lies within mere tone, as something possessing an inward soul-like content, so associated with the meaning of the life-ether is that which in later Persian times was called ‘Honover.’ The writer of the Gospel of John calls this the ‘Logos,’ which as meaning-filled tone belongs to the Being of the Sun.


That which as organizing quality lay here at the foundation of a new kind of fellowship is contained in the Life-ether, which organizes life, and which streamed into the Earth in the deed of Christ.


.. the mission of Spiritual Science is to help us to understand that the aura of the Earth has been united with the Sun-aura, and that it can be seen by those whose spiritual eyes are opened, that this Sun-aura, in the Earth-aura, which was visible to Paul, can also be heard when our inward ears are opened to hear the Sun-word as it was heard by Lazarus, he who had been initiated by Christ Jesus Himself.


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)