Man's transformation and spiritualization

From Anthroposophy

In the current stage of development on the planetary stage Earth, Man has received his 'I'-consciousness that sets him apart and above the other lower kingdoms of creation on earth. Man is made up of four developed, and three latent bodily principles.

Man's 'I' or threefold soul is 'pivotal' in that it is the vehicle or instrument for transformation of the lower bodily principles: Man's astral body, etheric body and physical body .. into their spiritualized counterpart versions: the spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man.

This spiritualization is the developmental direction that will happen 'anyway' through evolution in the next cultural ages, epochs, and planetary stages. Schema FMC00.130 represents this in a high level overview, see schema FMC00.047 on Development of the I for the next cultural ages in our current epoch.

However as always, not all entities reach the development goal of each developmental stage, resulting in the evolutionary 'funnel' whereby certain cohorts are left behind and 'pushed down' whereas the others move on and 'develop upwards'. In this way the current mineral, plant and animal kingdoms are the resulting 'lower kingdoms' of the entities that were not able to make the development targets at each stage - in comparison with Man. Another aspect of this evolutionary funnel is the creation of 'off-springs' such as elementals.

When Man, who has now received conscious awareness, and free will, actively starts this work of self-improvement and development, it is referred to as 'the great Work'. Specific development techniques exist, and to follow this process is called 'initiation'.

The spiritual guidance of Mankind by the teachers of humanity through the ages (see the White Lodge) serves to help and support Man with teachings that present the precepts for living the best life possible and fulfill the criteria for the correct development. An example is the 'golden rule' that can be found in all religions, see eg the Charter of Compassion.


  • spiritualization by transformation of the three lower bodily principles happens via the conscious 'I' into the three higher principles of Man's higher triad (1908-06-26-GA104 quote B, 1909-04-18-GA110)
  • the crucial role of developing the consciousness soul
    • when the consciousness is developed, Man becomes receptive for the higher triad that draws near as a spiritual fructification (1910-09-11-GA123)
  • the further spiritualization to life-spirit or budhi with the Christ Impulse, is explained on the Kundalini page, see: Kundalini#.5B3.5D - The process of illumination
  • attitude of soul
  • the process between death and a new birth
    • the higher triad and bodily principles develop in a very significant way between death and a new birth, the fruits of the previous life are added to the causal body or spirit-self, and the development of the future incarnation in the spiritual worlds is taking a step forward based on the learnings from the previous life
  • Initiation and Initiation exercices and
    • how they affect the bodily constitution, elemental balance, and the blood. See also Kundalini and Discussion area below.
    • how this affects the development of the chakras or lotus flowers, and the clairvoyance resulting from this process, see Schema FMC00.129 below
  • future evolution
    • During development of the higher Self, Man takes conscious control over, and separates again, the various forces that work in his lower consciousness. First and currently those are the soul forces of TFW. With still higher development, Man takes control over twelve such centers in order to attain higher consciousness. This way Man takes control of his twelve parts, and splits his human etheric body in twelve parts. (1905-08-13-GA091)
      • such highly developed integrated etheric body, consisting of various independant limbs or parts is called 'transformation body' or Nirmanakaya and can be copied through division. Example of such is Buddha. (see 1909-09-17-GA114 and 1909-09-18-GA114, and 1909-10-18-GA117, no extracts yet)


Schema FMC00.174 projects Man into the force substance representation framework with descent and re-ascent at high conceptual level


Schema FMC00.130 provides a simple tabular overview of evolution and the developmental goal per planetary stage (and Condition of Consciousness) - and epoch (taking into account Conditions of Life and Form). For the current fifth epoch on Earth that developmental target is spirit self (or manas), for the sixth it is life spirit (or budhi), and for the seventh it is spirit man (or atma). Only a limited cohort of the population will reach those targets in each epoch. The seed cohort for the next epoch is selected taking into account the developmental goal for the next epoch. See 1907-03-07-GA097 quote below.

Schema FMC00.055 illustrates Free Man Creator as participating to creation since Man received his 'I' and thereby can write into the fourth layer of the Spirit World, and through his thoughts feelings and actions contributes to the creation of future worlds.

Schema FMC00.353 positions the physiological process underlying the study of spiritual science and initiation exercises, through the use of the newly developed organ in the brain called the pituitary gland and the process working on the etheric and astral bodies.

Schema FMC00.129 links the development of the chakras (see also FMC00.325 on that page) to the stages of clairvoyance as a result of developing the threefold soul or 'I'.


Lecture coverage and references

Paracelsus writes (see 'The Archidoxes of Theophrastus Paracelsus' - book 2 pg 39)

The philosophers stone, which is the second arcanum, perfects its operations in another form namely this: as the extrinsic fire burning the spotted skin of the salamander, renders it pure as if it were newly born, so, also, the Philosophers' Stone purges the whole body of Man, and cleanses it from all its impurities by the introduction of new and more youthful forces which it joins to the nature of Man"

and (see 'The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus' p 85) where Paracelsus describes alchemical furnaces, whereby through the processes of combustion, the soul and spirit of his substances are liberated by the carefully tempered fire. He describes the height of the furnace in palms, and measuring the palm height against the body the furnace he hinted at may well have been the heart. See also Etherization of blood.

Mercurius Hermes Trismegistus says that he who perfects this Art creates a new world.

For in the same way as God created the heaven and the earth, the furnace with its fire must be constructed and regulated, that is to say, in the following manner: First, let a furnace be built at a height of six palms, with the fingers and thumb extended, but in breadth only one palm; round and within and plain, so that the coals may not adhere to it.


The furnace then is to be placed as the sun in the great world, which affords light, life and heat to the whole furnace itself, and to all the instruments and other things which it encloses.

For more on furnaces, see Titus Burckhardt 'Alchemy: science of the cosmos, science of the soul' (1960), in Ch. 13 on 'The Athanor', the alchemical term for the oven in which the elixir is prepared. Burckhardt writes:

The alchemical masters speak of three fires: an artificial, a natural, and an 'anti-natural'. These correspond to the distinction between methodic contemplation, the 'vibration' of the soul which is set in motion by the former, and the spontaneously occuring intervention of the spirit, which is also described as an 'incombustible sulphur' and is a mode of grace'.

Compare this statement with the etheric flows as explained in Etherization of blood. For the third fire, see reference FMCR00.001 in 1910-10-01-GA130 on that page: this is the Christ Impulse and indeed 'a spontaneously occuring divine intervention of the spirit as a mode of grace'. For the second fire and the effects of meditation on the etheric body, see 1908-01-07-GA266/1 and the other descriptions on the Kundalini page. One could read that the first 'artificial' fire is a result of Man's choice and action, the two other can indeed be seen as 'effects of nature'.



freely translated from DE version

Higher consciousness means that the components of lower consciousness are relaxed and controlled.

Soul forces of TFW correspond to the Spirits of Will (Thrones), Wisdom, and Movement. The nine other forces work also in Man but are less noticeable.

When Man develops his higher Self, he takes control over these forces TFW first in astral, then etheric and finally physical .. and that way the higher consciousness comes in that controls the three components that have departed from one another.

Wiith still higher development, Man takes control over twelve such centers in order to attain higher consciousness.

Each human power stands in relationship with a primal force of the world, universe.

This way Man can take control of his twelve parts, and this way he splits his ether body in twelve parts. Each part has its own special characteristic.

Higher developed Individualities emanate etheric bodies at death, these are used as models.

Christ radiated new physical matter at his birth, so he was able, before this to radiate the twelve separate parts of the foregone Christ (?). The twelve ether bodies of the apostles are the twelve separate parts of the previous Christ ether body. Christ is one consciousness and the group soul of the twelve apostles who are his parts and represent his body. Christ has really worked through these twelve parts.

1907-03-07-GA097 (SWCC), with reference to Schema FMC00.130 above.

Every epoch has its task in the evolution of humanity. Every race has its own task: the Atlantean race had the task of developing the Ego.

The task of our race, the fifth root-race, consists in adding Manas (spirit self) to the four members of the human being. That is to say, the understanding must be awakened through concepts and ideas. Our race, the fifth root-race, or the post-Atlantean era, must develop Manas, the Spirit-Self. Now we are living in the middle of the Manas-development. It is the task of our race to develop intellectual culture, and at the same time to develop egoism in its extremest form.

In our time, we experience egoism, the dry personal, intellectual element. But our task today is to grasp the esoteric truths in Manas, the spirit self, in the purest element of thought. The comprehension of the spiritual in this finest distillation of the brain is the true mission of our age. To render thought so forceful that it acquires something of an occult or spiritual power is the task which has been given us. This task must be fulfilled, so that we may be able to take our place in the future.

Mighty flames of fire destroyed ancient Lemuria, and mighty floods ancient Atlantis. Our civilisation will also perish, through the war of all against all. This is what we must face. Our fifth root-race will perish, because egoism will reach its highest pitch. But at the same time, a small group of men will develop the power of Budhi, of the Life-Spirit, through the force of thought, in order to carry over Budhi into the new civilisation. At present, every individual must discover in himself a kind of guiding spirit in the soul's inner depths: — This is Budhi, the power of the Life spirit

1908-06-26-GA104 presents Apostle's Paul's way of expressing Man's spiritualization. See also topic of Second Adam

Quote A

All men now possess the rudiments of the Spirit-Self, but one has more, another less. Many will still have to go through many incarnations before they have developed the Spirit-Self far enough to become aware of what they are working upon within their human nature. But when the earth has reached its goal, when the seventh trumpet begins to sound, the following will he observed: that which exists of the physical body will be dissolved like salt in warm water. The human Spirit-Self will be developed to a high degree, so that man will repeat again and again the words of Paul, “Not I, but Christ in me does everything.”

This will enable him to dissolve the physical nature and make the ennobled etheric into a being which can live in the astralized earth. Thus man, a new being, will live over into this spiritualized earth. We might say that the important stage of passing over into the earth which has become spiritualized, is wonderfully expressed in the Bible where it says that everything which man now accomplishes within himself in the physical body during the earth period is like a sowing whose fruit will appear when the earth has become spiritual.

“And that which thou sowest is not the body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it bath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Cor. xv. 37)

That is, the body which is the expression of the soul of the individuality.

“There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial, but the glory of the celestial body is one, and the glory of the terrestrial body is another.”

The earthly bodies will be dissolved, the celestial will appear as the luminous expression of what the soul is.

“It is sown corruptible and will rise incorruptible.”

The incorruptible body will then be resurrected.

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.”

Paul calls the etheric or life-body, spiritual body, after the physical has dissolved and the etheric passes into the astral earth. Paul here sees beforehand the incorruptible spiritual body, as he calls it. And now let us consider what it is that man will embody as the expression of his capacity for receiving the Christ. It is the same that hovered before Paul in spirit, and that he calls “the last Adam,” while he calls the first man who entered into existence in a physically visible body “the first Adam.”

At the end of the Lemurian epoch we already find various animals below, but man is not yet visible to external eyes; he is still etheric. He condenses, and absorbs mineral constituents and appears in his first form; the physical man gradually appears, just as water condenses into ice, Physical evolution then proceeds so far that what is earthly can dissolve and eventually disappears. Hence the man who has the etheric body appears as the last Adam. The first Adam has the capacity of seeing the earth in the physical body through the physical senses; the last Adam, who assumes a spiritual body, is an expression of the inner capacity for receiving the Christ. Hence Christ is called by Paul the last Adam. This comprises the whole of human evolution; in spirit we sec what man will become in the future, whereas before we saw how he descended to the earth.

Quote B

.. the fourth principle in human nature, that which makes man the crown of earthly creation, which makes him stand out above all the other beings, and enables him to develop as “I,” as an individual self-conscious being in earthly existence. In the future the evolution of Man will unfold in such manner that he will gradually work from his “I” upon the lower principles, so that the “I” becomes their ruler.

  • When the “I” has thoroughly worked upon the astral body and taken possession of it, so that in this astral body there are no more unconscious and unguarded impulses, instincts and passions, then the “I” will have developed what we call Spirit Self or Manas. Spirit-Self is none other than the astral body, only the astral body is the third principle before it is transformed by the “I.”
  • When the “I” transforms the etheric body also, Life-Spirit or Budhi is produced;
  • and when in the remotest future the “I” transforms the physical body so that this is completely spiritualized by the “I” itself (this is the most difficult work, because the physical body is the densest), then the physical body develops into the highest principle of human nature, namely, Atma or Spirit-Man.

Thus, if we conceive of man in his seven-fold nature, we have the physical body, the etheric body or life-body, the astral body and the “I.” Further, we have that which man will develop in the future; Spirit-Self or Manas, Life-Spirit or Budhi and Spirit-Man or Atma. That is the sevenfold being of man.

However, he will only develop these higher principles in the far-distant future. It is not yet in Man's power while on the Earth to work so far upon himself as to bring all these higher spiritual parts to full development.


It is a higher grade of development to be able to give, to bring sacrifices, than merely to store up for oneself all that the Cosmos gives. This is again mirrored in human life. What is this human development? Look backwards in spirit to the Atlantean and Lemurian times, and then look forwards!

Man receives the physical body, the etheric and astral bodies and the Ego, and then again the Ego works back on the other members, transforming the astral body, the etheric and physical bodies, into Manas, Budhi, and Atma, into Spirit self, spirit-Life and Spirit-man.

Primeval wisdom has always taught that Man transforms his astral body in such a way that this astral body consists at first partly of Manas and partly of the old astrality, but that later it becomes completely transformed, completely penetrated by the work and action of the I.

Let us take a man who has not yet reached that grade of development when the astral body is completely penetrated by the work of the Ego; almost all men, with very few exceptions, are in that condition. That which man has already transformed goes with him through all eternity; that which he has not yet changed in which his Ego has had no part, must leave him, as a sort of astral shell, after he has passed through Kama-Loka; that shell dissolves in the astral world, not without its having brought about considerable mischief if as an astral body, it had bad desires and evil passions. Thus we can say that the development of man consists in. his leaving always less and less behind him in the astral world. Let us follow the process; the man dies. Soon after death the etheric body is dissolved; and the extract of it remains. The man passes through. Kama-Loka, and the untransformed shell detaches itself; that which has been re-worked goes with man through all eternity, it is brought back into each new incarnation. The more perfect the man is, the less there will be of those remnants left in the astral world; till at last he will have progressed so far that he leaves nothing of his astral body in Kama-Loka, so far — that he can injure no living being on earth through the remnants he leaves in Kama-Loka. Such. a man has then the possibility of seeing into spiritual worlds. For it is not possible to reach this condition without having reached a certain degree of clairvoyance in the Astral. The whole astral body has then been spiritualised, it has become Spirit-Self, and the whole of it is taken with him by the man to the spiritual world. Formerly that which was bad was left behind, now the whole astral body can be taken with him into all futurity. And in the moment when the astral body is so far advanced that it is completely transformed, in that moment the whole of this new astral shape is impressed upon the etheric body, so that the etheric body becomes a counterpart of the astral body. The etheric body does not need to be as yet quite transformed, but that is impressed upon it which has been refashioned in the astral body. You see, that we have here described a particularly exalted being, one who is eminently far advanced, because he has developed the whole of the Spirit-self. This Being is called Nirmana-Kaya in Eastern Science; for his astral body, his astral Kaya, has reached the stage when it leaves no remnants in the astral world.

Man can always develop further; at last he influences or transforms his etheric body, then his physical body. What happens when the etheric and the physical body are transformed so that they are ruled by the man? When the etheric body is thus changed, when man has not only ‘Spirit Self’ in the astral body, but Budhi or ‘Life Spirit’ has also been gradually developed in his etheric body, and when this Life-Spirit or Budhi impresses itself upon the physical body — then yet a further stage of development is reached.

Man then reaches the point when his etheric body also leaves nothing behind it, so that he retains this etheric body in the same shape through all time, the etheric body in which he has formed the Life-Spirit or Budhi.

Through such transmutations man becomes more and more ruler over his astral and his etheric bodies. Such control enables him also to direct in a certain way his astral and etheric bodies. One who has not yet brought his astral body under the rule of his Ego must certainly wait until he has come thus far; but the man who already is lord of his astral and etheric bodies, has them at his free disposal. He can say: ‘Because with my “I,” I have passed through so many incarnations which have taught me to transform my astral and etheric bodies, I am now enabled, when I have to return to earth again, to form for myself out of astral and etheric substances, an astral and an etheric body which will be equally perfect.’ He is also enabled to sacrifice his own astral and etheric bodies, to pass them on to others. You now see, that there are individualities who, because they have become rulers of their astral and etheric bodies, are able to sacrifice these bodies, because they have learnt how to build them. If they wish to return to earth again, they will themselves form them anew out of the existing material. The perfection to which they have attained, they pass on to other personalities who have to perform certain tasks in the world. Thus personalities of later days have woven into them, organised into them, the astral and etheric bodies of these who lived in times of yore. You see that when this happens the personality of olden times did not only influence the time in which he lived, but that his influence works on also into the future.


In the course of his development Man evolves the consciousness-soul so that in it the spirit-self may appear. When he has evolved the consciousness soul, the upper triad (spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man) come to meet him, so that the opening flower of his being can receive into it this upper triad from above. This may be illustrated graphically to resemble the unfolding of a plant. When Man has made himself receptive by developing his consciousness soul, the higher triad draws near; this may be likened to a spiritual fructification coming towards him from on high. While with the other principles of his being he grows upwards from below, unfolding the blossom of the ‘Son of Man,’ there must come to meet him from on high, so that he may gain his I-consciousness, that which brings with it spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man.

in 1913-03-29-GA145 the threefold soul and astral, etheric, physical body is linked to the intuition, inspiration and imagination soul (SWCC)

In our present age, the consciousness soul is first localized in the physical body, that is: it uses the physical organs. The intellectual soul, containing the inner feeling forces of sympathy and compassion, is located in the etheric body, which means that it uses etheric movements. The sentient soul, containing impulses, desires, passions, uses the forces localized in the astral body. When the sentient soul is changed into the intuition soul, you must imagine that in a kind of correspondence, the astral body becomes an instrument of this intuition soul. Similarly the inspiration soul is the transformed intellectual soul and its instrument is the human etheric body. The imagination soul or transformed consciousness soul uses the physical body as its instrument.


The effect of poison in man's higher components. People who lag behind evolution fill their being with poisonous phantom of formative forces, the source of emptiness of soul, hypochondria, aggressive instincts. If spiritual life is possible, it must also be possible to go astray


But although these three higher principles of human nature are only present in embryo in the earthly life of the man of to-day, yet, albeit under the guardianship of higher spiritual Beings, they develop in a very significant way between death and a new birth. Thus when man dies and enters again into the spiritual world, these three principles develop very markedly, pointing, in a measure, to a future existence of humanity. Just as Man in his present life develops in soul and spirit between birth and death, so after death he goes through definite development, only then he is attached, as it were by an umbilical cord to the spiritual beings of the higher Hierarchies.

In 1920-10-31-GA200 the realism is sketched of the required transformative work on future forms and structures, already in the current cultural ages

... during earth-evolution only the germs of spirit-self, life-spirit and spirit-man will be able to evolve; for we shall have to wait for the transformation of the earth into its three following conditions for them to appear fully. .. Essentially, spirit-self is the transformation of the astral body into a higher stage, life-spirit is the transformation of the etheric body to a higher stage, and spirit-man is the transformation of the physical body to a higher stage. This transformation of the physical body, however, will not take place until the seventh condition — nor, correspondingly, the transformation of the other members.

Today, the human being can already understand that this has to happen, embrace the thought that it must happen. Indeed, the human being can grasp still more today if, without prejudice, he .. directs his soul's gaze upon its own nature. He will have to say to himself:

'It is true that, during earth-existence, I cannot attain spirit-self in my astral body, nor life-spirit in my etheric body nor spirit-man in my physical body, but what I have to do is to prepare, to prefigure, them in my soul. And by developing the consciousness-soul now I am preparing myself to take spirit-self into it in the next, the sixth, culture-epoch'. I know that I cannot yet bring spirit-self into my entire astral body, but I have to bring it into my consciousness-soul. As a human being, I must learn to live inwardly in the way that I shall one day live when the earth has passed over, through a certain cosmic development, into its next stage of evolution. And I must prepare for these future conditions, at least inwardly, while still in earthly existence. I must prepare myself, in germ, inwardly so that in the future I shall be able to shape my outer form in the way which it is my task, even now, to understand.

Now try and sense clearly what is really involved here. The human being is already growing into spirit-self [in the current cultural age]. The human being is growing into states of conscious­ness of which he must say that they are really of such a nature that, during the period of earth-existence, they cannot emerge fully. These states of consciousness try to transform him even as regards his external sheaths — his astral body, etheric body and physical body — but, as earthly man, he cannot achieve this. He has to say to himself: 'I must pass through the rest of earth-evolution continually feeling that I am preparing myself inwardly for conditions of being I cannot yet develop'. In future it will have to be the normal thing for a human being to say: 'I see the being of man as something which, in its inner nature, grows beyond what I can be as earthly man. As earthly man I am forced, in a sense, to feel myself as a dwarf compared with what the human being really is.'


[1] - How do initiation exercices affect the human physiology and blood?

Man's transformation and spiritualization is also the purification of the blood. In the mineral blood fluid also live the Elementary Kingdoms, Man's 'I' lives currently only with a grip on the warmth section.

PS: Rudolf Steiner mentions 'somewhere' that it would be possible to see the difference in blood quality between eg Thomas Assisi and a savage human being.

Spiritual exercices impact Man's etheric and astral body, and influence the development of the lotus flower petals. How does it influence our nervous system?

What is the impact of working the 'elemental balance' of our personality? If we work on our habits and temperament, we influence or etheric body.


And those who are in esoteric schools are already working on its development. The exercises have an effect not only on the astral and etheric bodies but also on the pineal gland. And when the effects are very penetrating, they go from the pineal gland out to the lymph vessels and from there into the blood.

Related pages

References and further reading