Lemniscatory time and space

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Contemporary mineral science, based on its foundational worldview, considers only the 'mineral aspects of physical matter' in a framework of linear euclidean space. Because the world around us in an emanation of the spiritual, embedded in the etheric and astral, it is a foolish extrapolation to consider that the whole universe is bound by the same laws as Man has found and framed - within a limited consciousness window - in lab experiments on Earth. (see oa Relationship between mineral and spiritual science). Since the beginning of the 20th century, mathematics has been applied ever more for the construction of theories of physics using space-time. These consist merely of human tought forms that do not (necessarily) bear any relation to reality (at all).

A spiritual reality underlies our perceived 'maya' human reality experience, and through the astral we live in a projection in the physical world so we get an experience of time and space in this world.


  • time and space as we know it are specific to our current experience with Waking consciousness in the physical world, in the astral world and the spirit world these concepts are experientially very different for Man's consciousness. The lemniscatory movement between inner and outer worlds stem from the astral world experience between Man's soul experience and the object-subject interface. (1906-09-30-GA091)
  • there is an inner relationship of space and time related to the numbers twelve (for space) and seven (for temporal conditions of time) (1909-08-31-GA113, see also Twelve as seven and five)


  • spiritual beings are to be considered without the concept of space, as space is something that has been produced, it has been created by the highest Trinity (1909-04-21-GA110)
  • origin of space in the Old Sun stage of solar system evolution
  • the lemniscate is a form that follows from the mathematics of the etheric, and applies to the dimensions of space once we remove the limit of only considering the laws of euclidean space.
  • lemniscatory paths of the heavenly bodies in astronomy (1921-01-GA323, or for an overview, see Schrapp below under 'Further reading' section)
  • example of comets with paths entering and leaving the physical into the astral


  • the activities of the hierarchies are timeless. Time originates in the collaboration of a sum of lesser and higher beings: in timelessness various development grades are possible, and through their interaction, time arises (1909-04-21-GA110)
  • origin of time out of the eternal in the Old Saturn stage of solar system evolution
  • Man's physical experience of time with sensory waking consciousness is to be seen in a spiritual scientific context as astral experiences within the different planes or worlds of consciousness (see Schema FMC00.289 on Human 'I').
    • "Evolution does not proceed in a simple way with time abstractly going ever forward on and on into the infinite. Time moves and turns in such a way that evolution is constantly reversed and runs back. It is not only in space that we find movements in curves as in a lemniscate, but also in time. " (1916-10-02-GA171)
  • time as we currently know and use it is related to the balance in the system and orbits of Earth between Sun and Moon. As a result of the huge changes with the separation of Sun in the Hyperborean epoch and the separation of moon in the Lemurian epoch, time as we know only because stable around the middle of the atlantean epoch. See also 'Concept of time as we know it' on Zodiac clock
  • relation of the evolutionary periods such as epochs and cultural ages to the spiritual hierarchies, see
  • example of timing of discovery of electricity (1916-10-02-GA171), see Remembrance
  • time separates effect from countereffect, therefore it is the root of the sense-based observation based hypothesis of causality as it is creates the illusion of causal occurences.


Schema FMC00.255 shows four types of earthly and cosmic laws. The physics of the current materialistic or mineral science is extremely successful in describing the laws for the element earth, on our planet Earth. However 'life', as we see it in the plant world, is governed by different laws, these are those of the etheric world and formative forces. Still other laws exists apply for the astral and spirit worlds.

Hence, space and time are characteristics that do not apply to the astral and spirit worlds.


Schema FMC00.384 captures the key principle in the explanation of timespace from a spiritual perspective in 1916-10-01-GA171, complementing contemporary astronomy's purely mineral-physical perspective. It provides a deeper understanding and meaning of the equinoxes and solstices. See lecture extract below and the illustration in the lecture of the next day.


Schema FMC00.107 shows the yearly cycle as an in and out breathing with the solstices and equinoxes as turning points. This lemniscatory view is also used in Rudolf Steiner's Calendar of the Soul, see 'Further reading' section on Christ Module 17 - The experience of the year


Lecture coverage and references

Rudolf Steiner introduces the lemniscatory movement in the astronomy course 1921-01-GA323, eg lectures 12, 17, 18 of 12, 17, 18 january.

On the mathematics of dimensions and the nature of space and time, a package of 6+2+4+3=15 lectures is available as follows:

  • The volume GA324A is called 'The fourth dimension' and combines:
    • a six lectures series of March to June 1905
    • two single lectures 1905-11-07 and 1908-10-22
    • Q&As from 1904 to 1922
  • More was published in GA091:
    • four lectures on the fourth dimension of 1906-08-GA091 (21, 23, 25, 27/08) held in a small private study group, with notes by Mathilde Scholl
    • the lectures of 1906-09-21-GA091 and 1906-09-22-GA091 leading up to the important 1906-09-30-GA091

(p301-310, untranslated)

  • in the physical world space is static, hence movement within allows for time. This can be represented by an ellipse.
  • in the astral world space itself is mobile and physical movement is not necessary. So time is not necessary to move from one place to another, Man lives in time there like he lives in space in the physical world. All that is in the astral space moves through himself. This can be represented by the lemniscate.
  • in the spirit world Man is the center of a radiating world streaming into him from all sides. Space nor time are necessary here. Time streams through space in Man, as Man has space in him and time streams in an out. This can be represented by a circle with a dot in the center for Man.
1909-04-21-GA110 Q&A

(not on rsarchive)

.. space itself, spiritual scientifically speaking, also has to be regarded as something created, this creation lies before the work of the highest hierarchies .. there we may presuppose it. However we may not try to present ourselves the highest Trinity, because space is their creation. We have to regard spiritual beings without the concept of space, as space is something that has been produced. However, the workings of the hiearchies in our world are delineated or restricted in space, just like those of human beings.


The concept of time can be used for spiritual events and processes .. however the activities of the hierarchies are timeless. It is difficult to talk about the originating of time, as in the word originate the concept of time is already implicit. Rather one has to say, the Being of Time .. and it's not so easy to discuss this. ... Time originates in the collaboration of a sum of lesser and higher beings: in timelessness various development grades are possible, and through their interaction, time becomes possible.


.. there is an inner relationship of space and time which I can only indicate here in bare outline with which the numbers twelve and seven have something to do.


... space, when if forsakes its sphere of eternity and takes into itself created things which run their course in time, is divided into good and evil; and in bringing out the good, seven is raised out of the twelve; seven then becomes the true number for temporal conditions. For truths, which belong to time, we must take the number seven as our clue; the remainder, the number five would lead us into error. That is the inner meaning of these things.

see: Twelve as seven and five#1909-08-31-GA113


is a key lecture. Lazarides (see reference below) discusses it in detail in Chapter 8. This note is put in a frame of the worldview of mineral science as a required phase since the 15th century, that will be superseded in the future again by taking into the spiritual again, see quote in this worldview context on Mineral science.

One will say, “Good, now we have a physical cosmic system; when we study it we must, as we know, calculate it and treat it geometrically as is taught today in practically every elementary school.” But spiritually, things are otherwise. You see, to an observer able to behold the spiritual, the following is presented, for example. He comes upon a certain movement of the sun; it takes this course. [figure]

Seen from a certain point of view, it is the sun's course; but when I draw this line here and bring the sun back again, the point does not fall exactly on the earlier point; it lies somewhat above it. This is a real movement of the sun that can be perceived spiritually.

But the earth, too, makes certain movements in the course of a year. Observed spiritually, it describes this orbit. [figure]

You must picture it in three dimensions. If you picture the orbit of the sun lying in a plane, then the orbit of the earth lies in this plane — seen, that is, from the side. If here is the orbit of the sun drawn as a line the earth orbit is so: [figure]

But, as you see from this, there is a point in the cosmos, where the sun and the earth are both together, but at not the same time. When the sun is there on its path, or rather has left this point by a quarter of its path, the earth begins its movement at the point that the sun has left. After a certain time we are, in fact, on the spot in cosmic space where the sun was; we follow the sun's path, cross it and are, at a certain time of the year, at the very place where the sun has been. Then the sun and earth go forward and after a time the earth is again practically at the spot where the sun was. Together with the earth, we actually pass in space through the spot where the sun has been. We sail through it. We not only sail through it, however, because the sun leaves behind results of its activity in the space it has traversed, so that the earth enters into the imprints left behind by the sun and crosses them — really crosses them. Space has living content, spiritual content, and the earth enters and crosses, sails through, what the sun has called forth.

You see, this is how the matter looks spiritually. Spiritually one must draw lines like these when one thinks of the orbits of earth and sun. There is a similar relationship with the other planets, too. At certain times we are approximately at the places where Mercury was, etc. The planets carry out quite complicated movements in universal space, and they enter into the imprints of each other. We have now the external picture, the purely geometrical picture. The other picture will be added, and only from a combination of the two will a later humanity attain the concept it must have.

You see, I am now telling you these things, but imagine for a moment that you relate what I have said to an astronomer. He would say, “Someone has lost his senses, has gone mad, to present such things. They are out of the question.” But it was not so long ago that the members of a famous Academy of Science also said, when meteoric stones that fall to the earth were spoken of, “That is a senseless statement!” This happened not at all long ago; many similar things could be recorded. Today, in orthodox physics, one recognizes the so-called law of the conservation of energy as something fundamental. The first to speak of it, Julius Robert Mayer, was confined in a madhouse. One could, of course, relate hundreds of such stories. But the point is this, that you see from what I have told you — I have given it only as an example — how the nature of thinking in astronomical fields, that wonderfully effective thinking from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, has had rather the faculty of bringing men away from reality. Men do not at all stand, as they believe, with both feet, both hands and the body in the real, but they give themselves up to the most fantastic ideas and imagine these to be reality. Men had to be educated like this in these centuries. They had to give themselves up to fantastic ideas about outer nature so that they might not be merged in the external events in the old way, but that, by virtue of these fantastic ideas, they might all the more obtain a feeling of the inner ego. This feeling has been greatly intensified in men during the last few centuries precisely through these fantastic materialistic ideas. That had to happen; the feeling of the ego had at some time to be engendered in the development of mankind's history. I have chosen an astronomical example, but it could be shown in every sphere how human evolution followed a course in the centuries just past that drew man away from true reality.

Now you will ask if men have known of such things as this, that together with the earth we enter the tracks of the sun, that twice in the year we are where the sun has been operative in space. Have men ever known anything of this? Yes, they have known it before, and it can even be easily proved historically that they knew it. Imagine that a man knows, really knows, that at a certain time in the course of the year the earth on its path so crosses the sun's path that the earth enters into the tracks of the sun and follows it. The reverse comes about when the earth turns back again toward the other side. The first time it is as if the sun descended below the earth's path, and the second, as if the sun ascended and the earth's path were underneath. The first time, the human being moves up with the earth above the sun's path, finding the traces of the sun by ascending; the other time, he moves down and passes under the traces of the sun. What can the man say who knows this and who also possesses the means to confirm it? He is able to know that now, at the point where the earth's path crosses the sun's path, he is passing through the place where the sun has stood. What could such a man say? He could say that this is a specially important time for us because we are at the place where the sun has been. This is expressed in the spiritual atmosphere and one meets the picture that the sun has left behind in the ether. Here, at this point in time, one establishes a festival! The ancient mysteries celebrated two such festivals of which but faint memories still remain in those of today, though the connection is no longer known. Please do not understand this as if I wished to give the actual point in time, but in the ancient mysteries it was known when we cross the sun's path and find in the ether the sun's content that has remained behind. In the time of such knowledge it was right for special festivals to be established at definite times of the year.

With the knowledge of today men are separated from these connections. Nor will they respect these things much since they say, “Well, what good is it to me if I do know that I am on the same spot that the sun was on? Of what use is that to me?” That is how modern man would speak. But the ancient Egyptians, for instance, did not speak in that way in their mysteries. On the fifteenth day of that month when they knew that the earth is passing through the point the sun has left, they interrogated the priestess of Isis, who had been prepared in the sanctity of the Temple. They knew that through the special spiritual preparation that this priestess could undertake, she could bring to light what can be experienced when one passes through the aura of the sun, and the priests might write down what they heard from the priestess, for example, “Rainy year, sow seeds at such and such a time...” In short, they were purely practical; that is, things that were important for guiding life in the succeeding year were noted. They lived according to these directions because they knew how the heavens work down into the earth.

This is what they investigated. It was already a time of decline when this science was betrayed by the opponents of the Osiris-Isis cult. The only way they could protect themselves — this external event has again a connection with the Osiris-Isis saga — was henceforth to impart at fourteen different temples what earlier, in ancient Egypt, had been the secret of only one temple. This was the art of living with the course of the year and investigating spiritually the influences on the earth.

The humanity of our age had to break away completely from such a relationship with the heavens because it had the task of finding the path away from the ambiguity of impulses and instincts, and of forming the pure ego. The ego did not act strongly at a time in which men made themselves mere instruments of heavenly activities, nor did it work strongly in the ages when the priest taught his immediate pupils, “There stands the Pleiades. When they are there, we must begin the days of Isis; then we must see that what we learn prophetically is the best way to proceed in the coming year.” They placed themselves as completely within the course of the universe as a cell is incorporated into our organism. Humanity could only become individual, personal, if in a definite epoch it were torn out of this connection, if all these human faculties of spirit that mediated such connections passed into a state of sleep. Thus a sleep regarding the spiritual was prepared, and mankind has slept most deeply in respect of spiritual matters ever since the fourteenth century. It has been a sleeping culture but now the time has come for an awakening.

Do not say, “I wish to criticize Creation and the Creator; why has he let me sleep?” This means putting oneself with one's intellect above cosmic wisdom. During the course of the earth stage, human evolution must go through its sleep periods just as much as the individual man must sleep in the course of twenty-four hours. Spiritual faculties, which is to say, a concept of the world in the sense of these faculties, slept deeply in the centuries indicated. On the other hand, man dreamt of geometrical lines in space; he dreamed the dream of the Copernican, the Galilean and the Darwinian world conception. Man needed this dream, this training, even the illusion of experiencing a special reality through the dream. Ultimately, it is the same with our sleep. In the evening we are tired and we go to sleep. Then we wake up refreshed with an inner feeling of reality. If humanity had developed the ancient spiritual faculties further, if these had not slept, men would have been tired out and would not have reached reality. They came to reality precisely by the fact that in their thinking and reflecting, and also in their social organizations, they had left reality. Because these capacities slept, past centuries have brought renewal and refreshment to mankind. In a certain respect, humanity has even become freer than it was in earlier centuries, and it will have to regain spiritual knowledge — and later spiritual power — in order to progress even further on the path of freedom.

Such things can be known! But again today's true materialist will say, “Well, and what if they are known!” I have, in fact, found materialists who say, “Good gracious, why must I think about the life of the soul after death. I shall see all that when death has arrived. Why need I bother now in the physical body about this life after death?” This seems to be quite plausible, this idea that it would be really unnecessary, here in the physical body, to bother about the super-sensible life. But this is not the case; it was so only in an earlier age when man was not yet ready for freedom. Today, the position is such that certain thoughts can only be grasped by the super-sensible hierarchies if men grasp them here in earthly existence. The gods only think certain thoughts if they live in human bodies. These thoughts must be carried into the spiritual world through the gate of death; only then can they be active. It is truly so; one who will not think about the super-sensible is like a farmer who says to his neighbor, “You are a silly fellow. Every year you put by a certain part of the grain for seed. I only became a farmer this year, but I am not as foolish as you. I shall grind it all, eat it and calmly wait. The grain will certainly grow again by itself.” Such a farmer resembles a person who is not willing to hear that, as well as consuming what we experience in the world, we must also lay aside certain seeds in the soul to guide it along its path in the spiritual worlds. Inasmuch as we pursue the science of the spirit, we are creating the right seeds for the present time. And the science of the spirit must be pursued.

You see from this that our time can become ever more clear to us through the spiritual understanding of its fundamental character and nature. This deepening of our inner faculties that must be striven for in order to come to a more real astronomy, for example, must also be striven for in social thinking. Regarding our thinking, we — or at any rate, most of us — have become as much asleep and dreaming in outer lives as we are in regards to astronomy, for instance, which I chose for an example. In the centuries gone by, and right up to today, very much has become veiled from humanity. Nor will what was present earlier appear again — investigations, for instance, through a priestess of Isis or through the Celtic druidical mysteries in which a priestess was similarly employed. To seek in that way to know about the action here of the spiritual will not recur; much more inward ways will be found, ways much more suited to future humanity. But they must be found.

Now, connect this with something I have already indicated yesterday. Remember that the servant of Osiris prepared the priestess of Isis before the fifteenth of a certain month of the year in order to obtain certain prophetic utterances from her when she traversed the sun-space with her soul. What happened through this Isis cult? What occurred was that actual time — not the abstract time of which we dream today, but actual time, was investigated. The time of year, the point of time, was, in fact, a specially important point, and the point on the return path was again important. How time works — concrete, real time — was expressed through the content of what the Isis priestess had to say. Then, might not the inscription on the Isis image read, “I am the Past, the Present and the Future?” this is the order of time. But only when such prophetic research was penetrated with a noble mood resembling the mood of virginity, when coming near to Isis was symbolized by the fact that Isis wore a veil, only then could one bring forth what was necessary. The whole must be steeped in holiness, in the atmosphere of a sacrifice.

Do not imagine that wisdom was not connected with the practical in those ancient times. What was called wisdom was fully united with practical things. Everything had a practical direction. One investigated the voice of the gods in the Egyptian temples, but the investigations were made in order to know in the right way which days or hours were most suited for sowing. Everything was connected with practical life. One investigated the action of the gods in practical life, and was conscious of how they penetrate it. Indeed, it was necessary that this temple service should be kept holy. What evils could have been committed if it had not been treated as sacred! It must never be asserted that these things that relate to past ages will arise again in the same way. They will arise quite differently. But a knowledge will again be won for humanity that will be directly fitted for entering practical life. A spiritual knowledge — but just because it is spiritual, a practical knowledge — will again appear in which the things around us will be fully mastered. Neither an Isis nor an Osiris cult will appear. Something else will arise that will bear the traces of our having passed through the centuries since the Isis and Osiris cult existed. It will show that the new science of the spirit must be sought with full consciousness and in freedom. But the things that have taken place must be tested a little in their reality. History must be different from what it so often is today, when people merely make researches in documents and records.

One comes, however, upon all sorts of peculiar explanations, like the one I have already given regarding Isis. When there stood as inscription on her image, “I am the Past, the Present and the Future,” one who was initiated knew that this referred to concrete reality and that the veil only expressed a certain attitude of mind. Today, people say of the veiled Isis image at Sais that the veil means that one cannot penetrate behind wisdom, that one will never know who Isis is. But when the inscription, “I am the Past, the Present, and the Future, no mortal hath yet lifted my veil,” stands there, one must explain it as meaning that the veil is not lifted because one only approaches its holiness when veiled as a nun, not because something lies behind it that one cannot know and that cannot be communicated to anyone. If the explanation that people usually give were correct, then one must really compare it with the trivial statement, “I am called Hans Muller, but you will never know my name.” She says indeed who she is — “I am the Past, the Present and the Future” — and this implies that it is for her to impart the Mysteries of Time, while what flows out of Time into Space is to be mediated by the Osiris priest. He is to carry the temporal into the spatial and is to receive in thought what comes from the soul, that is, the Isis revelation that is embedded in the universe and its course.

Today, the science of the spirit is still largely held to be foolish. But when it has really been understood, it will be seen to contain a science much more real than the scientific dream of the past centuries. Quite different practical operations, practical mastery of the outer world, will come to light when the time arrives. It is not yet time today; mankind must first have knowledge and know in the spirit of spiritual science before it can act in the spirit of the science of the spirit.

I wanted to go into this in order to point out precisely at this time how it is only through a true understanding of what has happened that an understanding can also be reached of what has to happen. In the future, humanity must be guided beyond many things with whose karma mankind is heavily burdened in our present grievous and painful times. Today mankind is burdened with the karma of the dream life of the past centuries.

This mystery must first be grasped on its depths; then it will be easier to understand our sorrowful present and also to understand how humanity must gradually prepare a different karma for the future.


gives a concrete illustration of what was explained the day before

Man had to go through materialism. His forces would have been too weak for the times to follow, if he had not gone through materialism. For strange and amazing is the evolution of mankind.

Let us look back for a moment to an event of the Lemurian epoch. We find there a certain moment in evolution — it lies thousands and thousands of years back — when the mankind of the earth was quite different from what it is now. You will know from the descriptions I have given in 'Outline of Esoteric Science' of human evolution on the Earth that the various impulses entered into Man only gradually. There was a moment in evolution when what we today call magnetic and electric forces established themselves within Man. For magnetic and electric forces live in us in a mysterious manner.

Before this time, Man lived on earth without the magnetic and electric forces that have developed ever since, spiritually, between the workings of the nerves and the blood. They were incorporated into Man at that time. The forces of magnetism we will leave out of consideration, and a portion of the forces of electricity. But the forces which I will distinguish as the electrical forces in galvanism, voltaism, etc. — forces that have taken deep hold in the culture and civilization of our time — these forces found entry in that far-off time into the human organism and united themselves with human life; and this very fact made it possible for them to remain for a long time unknown to human consciousness. Man carried them within him, and for that very reason they remained unknown to him externally.

The forces of magnetism and the other electrical forces we learned to know earlier.

Galvanism, the electricity of contact, which has a much deeper determining influence on the karma of our age than is generally realized, was, as you know, only discovered at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, by Galvani and Volta. People give far too little thought to such facts as these. Just consider for a moment! This Galvani was dealing with the leg of a frog. “By chance,” as we say, he fastened it to the window, and it came in contact with iron, and twitched. That was the beginning of all the discoveries that rule the earth today by means of the electric current. And it happened such a little while ago! People do not generally stop to think how it is that mankind did not come to this knowledge earlier. Suddenly this thought emerges in a human being, in a perfectly miraculous way; he stumbles on it — as it were, perforce. In this materialistic age of ours, we naturally never stop to think about such a thing. And this is the reason why we can understand absolutely nothing at all of the real becoming of the earth. The truth of the matter is as follows:

After mankind had passed the moment in the Lemurian time when it implanted into it, or received implanted into it, the forces that go through the wire today in electricity and work in an invisible manner in Man himself, after this time had passed, electricity lived inside the human being.

[key section]

Now evolution does not proceed in the simple, straightforward way in which people are inclined to picture it. They imagine that time goes ever forward on and on into the infinite. That is an altogether abstract conception. The truth is that time moves and turns in such a way that evolution is constantly reversed and runs back. It is not only in space that we find movements in curves as in a lemniscate, but also in time.

During the Lemurian epoch, Man was at the crossing point of the lemniscate movement, and that was the time when he implanted into himself the principle of electrical force. He traversed the returning path in the Atlantean time and, in respect of certain forces, in the Post-Atlantean time, and arrived about the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century exactly at the point in the evolution of the worlds at which he was in the old Lemurian time when he implanted into himself from the cosmos the principle of electricity. There you have the explanation of how it came about that Galvani discovered electricity at that particular time. Man always goes back again in later times to what he experienced earlier. Life takes its course in cycles, in rhythms. At the middle of the materialistic age which had been developing ever since the 14th–15th century, mankind was standing at that point in the world. All through which he had passed long ago in the Lemurian epoch. And mankind as a whole in that moment remembered the entry of electricity into the human being, and thereupon as a result of this memory impregnated his whole civilization with electricity. The soul and spirit in Man found again what it had once experienced long ago.

Truths like this must be clearly envisaged again, for it is only with truths like this that we shall escape decadence in the future.


is called 'the threefoldness of space and the unity of time'


discusses the concept of causality in timespace experience, in the context van the karma studies and Man's cycle of reincarnation

.. we enter the concept of time. To put it trivially, we must go for a walk in time. In the physical world, when we are looking for the causes of things that happen there, we move about in the physical. We do not need to leave the physical. And if we are seeking the causes of anything that is brought about in the living kingdom of plants, we must go very far away. We must sweep through the ether-world, and only where the ether-world is at an end — where, as in fairy-tale language, we come to the end of the world — there do we find the causes of plant-growth. But we can wander there as we will; we shall not find there the causes of the faculties of sensation or of movement. To do so, we must set out on a pilgrimage in time. We must go backward in time. We must go out of space, and into time.

As to causation, therefore, we can place the human physical body in its lifeless condition side by side with external lifeless Nature. And we can place-the human ether-body — both in its life and in its outward passage after death into the ether-spaces — side by side with the etheric life of the plants; for this too comes in from the ether-spaces, though from the simultaneous constellations, of that which is beyond the physical, above the earth. Moreover, we can relate the human astral body to the outer animal world.

Now, when in further progress from mineral nature to plant and animal, we come at length to the human kingdom proper, perhaps you will say, “We have already considered it.” Yes, but not altogether. We have considered it inasmuch as the human being has a physical body; then inasmuch as he has an ether-body; and thirdly, inasmuch as he has an astral body. But you will recognise: if man merely had his physical body, he would be a crystal — even it perhaps a very complicated one. And if in addition he only had his ether-body, he would be a mere plant — no matter, perhaps, how beautiful. And if he even had the astral body added, then he would go on all fours; he would have horns, or the like; in a word, he would be an animal. All this, he is not. He has the form and figure he possesses as an upright-walking being, because he also possesses the Ego-organisation, over and above the physical, etheric and astral. To this being alone, who also has the organisation of the Ego, we can apply the name: human kingdom.

Let us observe once more what we have already seen. If we are seeking the causes for the physical, we can remain within the physical. If we are seeking the causes for plant-nature, we must go out into the wide ether-realms. We can still remain within space — though, as I said, this “space” becomes a little hypothetical, so that we have recourse to fairy-like conceptions, as when we say “the end of the world — where the world is boarded up.” Yet it is so. Why, even they who only think along the lines of present-day research are now beginning to divine that in some sense there is such a thing as the end of the world — “where the world is boarded up.” It is of course a childlike and crude expression. But we need only remember the childlike way in which people are wont to think: There is the sun, it sends out its rays, on and ever on. The rays grow-weaker and weaker, it is true, yet the light goes on and on, ever away, into the infinite.

.. I have long ago explained what nonsense it is to imagine that the light goes on and on in this way, into the endless void. .. I have said, the expansion of light is subject to a kind of elasticity. If you have an india-rubber ball and you indent it here — you can continue pressing up to a certain point; then it springs back again. There is an end to the elastic pressure; then it recoils. It is the same for the light: it does not go on and out into the endless void. When it has reached a certain limit, it comes back again.


So likewise we may say: Out there, if we think our way far enough outward, sooner or later we must think back again. We must not assume a mere endless space which is a fantasy and moreover, one which we cannot grasp. Some of you may recall what I related in my autobiography of the deep impression it made on me, when I attended classes on modern Synthetic Geometry, and when for the first time it was shown me through Geometry itself that a straight line should not be conceived as though it went out into the endless void and never ceased. The line that goes outward in this direction, actually returns from the opposite side. Geometry expresses it by saying that the infinitely distant point to the right is identical with the infinitely distant point to the left. This can be found by exact calculation — not by the mere analogy of a circle, where, if you set out from here, you will eventually get back again to the same point, and if you then imagine the diameter infinitely long the circle will become a straight line. That would be a mere analogy, of little or no value to one who can think exactly. I was impressed, not by this trivial analogy, but by the possibility of real arithmetical proof, that the infinitely distant point on the one side — to the left — is the same as the infinitely distant point to the right. So that one who begins to run from here and runs on and on along the line will not run out into the endless void; if he only runs on for long enough, he will come back to meet us from the other side. To physical thinking it may seem grotesque. The moment we set aside physical thinking it is a reality. The world is not endless. As physical world, such as it lies before us here, it is limited.

Once more then, we may say: To deal with the plant-nature and with the etheric nature in man, we must go to the very limits of the ether. But if we wish to explain the animal nature, and the astral in man, we must go right outside all that there is in space. We must go for a walk, in time — beyond all that is contemporaneous; we must move forward in time. And now we come to the human kingdom.

When we thus come into time, you see, we are already transcending the physical in a twofold way. In order to describe the animal you must move on in time. But at this stage you must not abstractly pursue the line of thought; you must continue concretely. I beg you now observe, how we continue the line of thought concretely.

People think, when the sun sends out its light, that the light goes endlessly on and on. Oliver Lodge, however, shows that this kind of thought is already beginning to be left behind. They are beginning to realise that you get to a certain limit and thence come back again. The sun receives its light sent back to it again from all directions — though in another form, in a transmuted form, still it receives it back again.

Now let us apply the same kind of thought to the progression we have just followed. We stayed, to begin with, in space. Then, earthly space remained there within, while we must go out into the universe. But even that was not enough, for at the next stage we go out into time. Now, someone might say, we must go on still further — on and on. No, on the contrary; now we come back again. Just as it is when we go on and on into space: we get to a limit and thence return; so do we here come back again. Having looked in the distances of time for the past super-physical causes we must return again into the physical.

What does this mean in reality?

It signifies that out of time we must come down again on to the Earth. If we would seek the causes that apply to Man as such, we must seek them once more on Earth. Only we have gone backward in time, and I need hardly say: when, going backward in time, we come again on to the earth, we come into a former life of man. We come into a former life. For the animal we have to go on and on. It dissolves away in time, just as our ether-body dissolves away to the utmost limits ... Man, at this point does not dissolve away; we must come back again, even into his former life on earth. Therefore, in Man's case, we can say: Past physical causes, for present effects within the physical.


[1] - Regarding 1916-10-02-GA171 and example of electromagnetism and nature's forces

Nature's forces: Proserpina, Demeter, Rhea; Eros; Hectate (1917-11-02-GA273, 1911-08-18/19-GA129)

Steiner describes how the Greeks had a description of three Mothers .. Proserpina, Demeter and Rhea, by which they referred to the fundamental forces that worked during the previous three planetary stages of evolution (Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon)

Rebholz continues to describe:

  • how these forces are of course still at work in the spiritual spheres, and how – what we currently know and denote as physical forces – are but reflections of these spiritual forces.
  • how electricity is the first of three sub-material forces, that was discovered in the fifth cultural age; whereas the two others will be discovered in the sixth and seventh cultural ages

See also 1921-06-03-GA204 on Blood is a special fluid, relating how the Luciferic impulse was an electric impulse that entered Man in the blood in the Lemurian epoch.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • N.A. Kosyrev: Possibility of experimental study of the properties of time (1967)
  • Christian Lazarides: Vivons-nous les commencements de l'ère des poissons ? (1990)
    • see eg p 178-179
  • Kristina Strom: Further reflections on time, space and reality (Fulcrum magazine, v3n4 of 1995)
    • PDF freely downloadeable via the links in the Further reading section on Walter Russell page
  • Roland Schrapp: The lemniscatory path system (parts 1 to 3): An evolution of the Copernican worldview based on statements and sketches by Rudolf Steiner on the planetary movement (2012)
  • Gunther Hildebrandt: Zeiterleben und Zeitorganismus des Menschen (The experience of time and the time organism in human beings)
    • published in G. Kniebe: Was ist Zeit? Die Welt zwischen Wesen und Erscheinung (What is time? The world between being and embodiment)

See further references in the 'Further reading' section on: Zodiac clock