Man past and future

From Anthroposophy

Man's form and physiology or 'make-up' is in constant evolution and is quite different in the different epochs, and planetary stages.

See Overview of solar system evolution for a view on how the human being evolves across the planetary stages of evolution, and a different bodily principle is central to each planetary stage (schemas FMC00.055,FMC00.149 and FMC00.218). The spiritual principle for the human physical body was developed first on Old Saturn but evolved with every consecutive stage as it became part of a more complex body with other principles. Today it has become what is called the phantom, or the non-material physical body - see cleansed phantom.

Within the Earth planetary stage, the form of Man morphed and transformed tremendously across the different Conditions of Life (CoL) and Conditions of Form (CoF), and even within the epochs of the current CoL and CoF - which is the focus of this topic page.

The evolving human form described here is directly related to the human consciousness and human senses - used for passive perception and active creation. (Schema FMC00.178 )

The spiritual scientific physiology describes this expression and creation of the spiritual hierarchies that 'houses' (produces, sustains, maintains) the evolving human being.


  • Man evolving between planetary evolutionary stages:
    • Man on Future Jupiter, eg the transformation on bodily elements between planetary stages
    • Man on Future Venus, eg three craniums or brains

On Earth:

  • Past stages
    • Previous epochs:
      • the formation of the bodily characteristics, see FMC00.184 below, as well as the underlying Group souls of humanity
      • the Centaur: image of half man - half animal, as Man was in the Lemurian epoch and to a degree still the case with Man's astral body today
      • the Sphinx - the past history of human group souls that are joined up and integrated in Man, incl. the Riddle of the Sphinx
      • the variance in bodily characteristics versus the 'original plan' is described in: Human races
    • current Postatlantean epoch: Humanity is getting younger, the age in which the soul becomes independant of the development of the physical body becomes every lower
  • Future stages
    • Man in the next sixth and seventh epoch, ao the arising of a second spinal column and a merger into a single spinal column
      • Man in the next sixth epoch: the future Man's form will change: the current two legs and right arm will disappear (see Schema FMC00.176 below), the current organs will develop and three main organs will remain (see Schema FMC00.178 below): the heart as Buddhi-organ, the two-petalled lotus-flower between the eyes will develop two wings and be the motive organ of will, an organ of movement, arising from metamorphosis of the left side of the chest, and the left hand. Man will ‘fly’ and make use of two last of these organs.The pineal gland and pituitary glands and sympathetic nervous system will give rise to a second spinal column. Ida & Pingala will merge with Sushumna and become one.
      • In the seventh epoch the two spinal columns will merge into one.
    • In far distant times human "beings will develop an organ which will separate the carbon from the oxygen and make it part of themselves. The principles we take in with our food today to build up our bodies will then be something we consciously do within ourselves. We'll change carbon dioxide into oxygen again. Man's physical body will then a mass of gel-like carbon. (1906-11-30-GA097)
    • Development of the chakras


Schema FMC00.370 shows 'the big picture' of the development of humanity between the third and sixth epochs.

Below [in blue] the three major impulses (FMC00.185), with the descent of Man in the Lemurian epoch (into physical incarnation and gender), and [under the timeline in grey] the slow development of the sentient, intellectual and consciousness soul in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs as a gift of the Spirits of Form (FMC00.046 below). As part of that [in red] the Luciferic infection with following Ahrimanic and Soratic influences.

Also [below in yellow] the Three pre-MoG interventions of Christ to steer the balanced development of the I across Man's bodily principles. Then, in the current epoch [see vertical light grey lines] the refined sentient, intellectual and consciousness souls in three cultural ages. This development was supported with the Krishna impulse and the Being of Elijah. Central in the whole development: the Mystery of Golgotha (MoG) and the resulting changes in the age of the consciousness soul. See oa FMC00.167 and Schema FMC00.013 on Transition between 4th and 14th century.

The resurrection at the MoG caused the start of the Second Adam development of future spiritualized humanity with Christ as group soul. The second apocalyptic seal illustrates this (FMC00.348) with the Mystical Lamb being the future group soul for humanity that originates from the group souls of humanity (FMC00.283 and FMC00.181).

Hence, the schema depicts the individuation from humanity in stages. For the reference to the three cultural ages of the Sixth epoch, and the Father impulse, see the Book of Revelation.


FMC00.066 shows the appearance and disapperance of the bodily principles during the different planetary stages and CoC, and how they serve the development of the main virtues.


FMC00.184 shows the orientation of the formative forces on Man in the three epochs, and the link to the integrated form in which the previous three forms blend in the Sphinx:


Schema FMC00.176 symbolizes the future form of Man, by comparison from two sources.

The picture on the left (two drawings of Man) is from an ancient work by Johann Georg Gichtel, and also appears a.o. in Albert Soesman's 'Our twelve senses'). The sketch, on the left, shows the human figure quite dark, to indicate that Man is shackled to the earth: earthly Man. Next, on the right, you see future Man. The legs are quite dark, as well as the right arm, while the left arm and head are drawn in a lighter shade. Why? In earlier times it was known that the right side of Man, and legs, are the part oriented towards earth, while the left side and the heart and heard are the cosmic part of Man. In India this is sometimes still shown when someone is decorated with a sash worn over right shoulder and left hip).

Compare with the two drawings on the left, a sketch by Rudolf Steiner in his notebook of 1905. The original sketch in the middle and on the right the cleaner reproduced version published as part of the lecture (see below).

Schema FMC00.176A provides illustrations from 'Theosophia practica' by the German mystic and pupil of Jakob Böhme, Johann Georg Gichtel (1638-1710), whose correspondence was published by his disciple Gottfried Arnold without his knowledge as 'Theosophia practica'.

On the left, note that the planets are associated not with organs but with emotions such as ‘anger’ (Zorn), ‘arrogance’ (Hofart) and ‘jealousy’ (Neid). Remark the spiral connecting the heart with the crown chakras. Second from left, see Rudolf Steiner's explanation with Schema FMC00.176.

On the right are two copies with the esoteric christian terminology, the lower man is the dark world of evil (see also Centaur), and the chakras are connected to 'Jehovah' (solar plexus), 'Jesus' (heart), 'Sophia - mirror of the divine' (throat), and 'Holy Spirit' (ajna or third eye, see also the explanation of pineal and pituitary glands on Kundalini in section 3.1 of the Discussion area on that page).

For similar illustrations with explanation, see also William Law's illustrations, see 'Further reading' section below.


Schema FMC00.178 (see 1905-09-30-GA093A below) describes active and passive perception and links with the process of producing rather than perceiving. See also RSL quote on Process of perception, and Etherization of blood


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). See more on Man's transformation and spiritualization


Lecture coverage and references

Mankind in previous planetary stages


Man has already gone through these three realms on three different globes. He materialised in mineral, plant and animal form. Admittedly, the form was different.

  • In the mineral realm it resembled an automaton;
  • human plants had the shape of rays;
  • and human animal forms were egg-shaped.

On the first three planes Man reached a kind of closure.

Future Man

Helena Blavatsky

was answering questions in 'The Inner Group Teachings' (The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky), for example on 1890-09-17 in 'The Sympathetic Nerve: 16'

What is the sympathetic nerve, & its function in occultism? It is found only after a certain stage of animal evolution, & would seem to be evolving in complexity towards a second spinal cord.

(Answer) At the end of the next Round humanity will again become male-female, & then there will be two spinal cords. In the seventh race the two will merge into the one. The evolution corresponds to the Races, & with the evolution of the races the sympathetic develops into a true spinal cord. We are returning up the arc, only with self-consciousness added. The 6th Race will correspond to the "pudding-bags," but will have the perfection of form with the highest intelligence & spirituality.

Anatomy & Occultism: Anatomists are beginning to find new ramifications & new modifications in the human body. They are in error on many points; e.g. as to the spleen, which they call the manufactory of the white blood corpuscles, but which is really the vehicle of the Linga Sarira. Occultists know each minute portion of the heart, & have a name for each. They call them by the names of the Gods, as Brahman's Hall, Vishnu's Hall, etc. They correspond with parts of the brain. The very atoms of the body are the 33 ores of Gods.

The sympathetic nerve is played on by the Tantrikas, who call it Siva's Vina.

and 1890-09-24 in 'Sympathetic Nerve: 32. With reference to Question 16':

What is it that will become a second spinal cord in the 6th Race? Will Ida & Pingala have separate physical ducts? (Answer) It is the sympathetic cords which will grow together & form another spinal cord. Ida & Pingala will be joined with Sushumna & they will become one. Ida is on the left side of the cord & Pingala on the right.1905-08-27-GA091

describes the difference between the current eye and ear, and the fact that the ear directly perceives the innermost reality whereas the eye only makes an image.

  • is about the future of the eye, ear and sense of touch
  • talks about the senses on Old Moon, when Man's senses were in the ether body and served inner soul experience/observation. Only on Earth did the physical senses give rise to outer observation and the I-consciousness.

From a being requiring a body produced by others, man will transform himself into a being who manifests himself through emanation. At that time he will consist of three members: ‘Man in the evening who goes on three’, as the Sphinx says.

The original four organs have undergone metamorphosis. At first the hands were also organs of movement. Then they became organs for the spiritual.

In the future only three organs will remain

  • the heart as Buddhi-organ,
  • the two-petalled lotus-flower between the eyes,
  • and the left hand as the organ of movement.

This future state is also related to Blavatsky's indication (of a second spinal column). The pineal gland and the pituitary gland organise a second spinal column which later unites itself with the first. The second spinal column will descend in front from the head.


This union of the paternal spirit with the maternal substance was described in Egypt as the union of Osiris and Isis. From it came forth Horus. The merging of the serpent form with the etheric head, with the newly acquired astral body and head formation, led to the conception of the form of the sphinx. The sphinx is the expression of this thought in sculpture.

There were seven kinds or classes of such forms, all of which differed somewhat from each other, from the finest, approximating to the highly developed formation of the human form down to those which were utterly grotesque. These seven kinds of human forms had all to be fructified. One must conceive the descent of the ‘Sons of Manas’ in this pictorial way. Only then can one understand how the astral body of man came into existence. It is composed of two different members.

If we consider human development we shall find that the one part of the astral body is continually endeavouring to overcome the other half, the lower nature, and transform it. In so far as man today consists of astral body with etheric body and physical body, it is in fact only the physical body which in its present state is a product which has reached completion. In the case of the etheric body also there are two parts that seek to merge into one another.


Viewed from above downwards, head and sexual organ, man is synthetic and one. All this is the product of the past. Left and right he is symmetrical, representing the present and the future. These two symmetrical parts, however, have not the same value. Why is man usually right-handed? The right hand which is the more active of the two today, is destined subsequently to atrophy. The left hand will survive when the two ‘wings’ on the forehead have developed. The heart will be the brain of the chest — an organ of knowledge.

Before Man assumed the upright posture there was a time when he moved on all fours. Such is the origin of the riddle of the Sphinx: ‘Who is the being who in infancy walks on four legs, in middle age on two, in old age on three?’ Oedipus answers that this being is man, who when, a baby crawls on all fours, and in old age leans on a stick. In reality, riddle and answer refer to the whole evolution of humanity, past, present and future, as it was known in the ancient Mysteries. Quadruped in a previous epoch of development, man walks today on two feet; in the future he will ‘fly’ and will indeed make use of three auxiliary organs, namely the two wings developed from the two-petalled lotus which will be the motive organ of his will, and for the rest, the organ arising by a metamorphosis of the left half of the chest, and the left hand. Such will be the organs of movement in the future.

The present organs of reproduction will atrophy as well as the right side and the right hand. Man will give birth to his like by the force of the word; his word will mould ethereal bodies like his own.


The 4th is pranayama, bringing rhythm into the breathing process. We can best understand this if we consider that under present-day conditions, the human breath kills things. The teacher instructs the pupil to regulate his breathing according to certain rules he gives him, at least for a time. If we were to examine the breath we would find that the air exhaled by a yoga pupil has quite a different composition, quite a different carbon dioxide content, than the breath of ordinary people.

It is therefore true that by regulating the breath the pupil influences the future evolution of the Earth. Constant dropping wears the stone. You don't see results from one day to the next. But it all adds up and will have defmite significance over long periods of time.

[Breathing and philosopher's stone]

At a particular time, Rosicrucian teachers also get their pupils to bring rhythm into their breathing.

What does the breathing process bring about?

The physical human being cannot be thought of without the plants. We inhale oxygen which combines with carbon in the lung, and we exhale carbon dioxide. The plant does exactly the opposite. There is a continuous cycle between human beings on the one hand and plants on the other.

In far distant times human beings will develop an organ of their own which will take care of the function plants perform today. They will be able to process the carbon dioxide in themselves. Human beings will have an organ able to separate the carbon from the oxygen and make it part of themselves. The principles we take in with our food today to build up our bodies will then be something we consciously do within ourselves. We'll thus change carbon dioxide into oxygen again.

This process is indeed helped by making the breathing process rhythmical. This was taught extensively in 14th century Rosicrucian schools. Some of these secrets were betrayed, so that they appeared in the popular literature.

In an 18th century work reference is made to the philosopher's stone. The statement is literally true. The author himself probably did not know what this was really about. The whole human being must change if he is to achieve what the plant does for him now. His physical body will then be carbon, but not black coal, nor hard diamond, which after all is only a symbol for the philosopher's stone. The philosopher's stone is meant to be a body which is transparent, with the other organs integrated within it. It will consist of a mass of gel-like carbon, rather like the white of an egg. Man is following a course where he will one day develop into this marvellous glory.

The rhythmic breathing which leads to this is called 'alchemy'. The philosopher's stone is the lapis philosophorum. The Man who wrote this did not actually know what it was he was writing.


is called 'The future of Man' and contains an outlook which is not specifically timed but well relevant for the future races.

Souls live now in a human body which you distinctly perceive with the senses. By what means has it arisen? It was very different in earlier times when the soul descended, in fact for our present material outlook even comically different. The soul took up its abode in it.

By what means has the human being evolved to its present form?

Because the soul has itself worked in the body during all its incarnations. You can form an idea of how the soul has worked on the body if you consider what possibility has remained to the man of our materialistic age to work upon his body. He can work relatively but very little on his dense physical body. See how you work temporarily on the body and its physiognomy. Something for instance causes you terror, anxiety; the impression of anxiety and fear makes you go pale. And your physical appearance is affected in the same way by the blush of shame. This passes away again, but you see how it is caused. Something acts on the soul and the effects extends to the blood and thence to the physical body, changing the very appearance. The effect can be still more intensive. You know that people who lead a life of thought have it very much in their power to create an impression on their countenance of their intellectual work, one can observe whether or not a man has lived a life of mental activity. So men still work on their external expression and a man of noble feelings displays them in dignified movements. These are but very slight relics of how man has worked on himself during millions of years. Whereas nowadays you can only bring the blood to the cheek and drive it away again, in earlier times man was entirely under the influence of a picture-world which was the expression of a world of spirit.

[referring to earlier epochs .. ]

.. the effect of this influence was that the human being could work much more creatively on his body. At the same time the body was also more soft and yielding. There was a time when you could not merely stretch out your hand, when you could not only point with the finger, but when you could send your will into your hand, and so form it that you could thrust out the fingers as continuations. There was a time when the foot was not yet permanent but could be extended as a continuation when man needed it. Thus through the pictures which he received from the surrounding world man shaped his own body.

Today in our material age this moulding is unimaginably slow, but a time will come again when it will proceed more rapidly. In the future man will again acquire more influence over his physical corporeality. We shall see when we consider Initiation by what means he gains this influence; although he may not reach it in one life, yet he will be able to do much for the next incarnation.

Thus it is man himself who will bring about the future form of his body. Inasmuch as the human being becomes softer and softer, inasmuch as he separates himself from the hard parts, he is approaching his future. An age comes when man will live above his earthly portion as it were, as in time gone by.

This condition, which is comparable to your present sleep-condition, will then be replaced by another when the human being will be able to draw his etheric body out of his physical body at will. It will be as if the denser part of man were here below on earth and the human being will make use of it from outside like an instrument. Man will no longer bear his body about and live within it, but will float above it, the body will itself have become rarefied and finer. That seems a fantastic idea today, but one can be distinctly aware of it from spiritual laws just as one reckons future eclipses of the sun and moon from the laws of astronomy.

[Reproductive process - larynx]

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

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

[Future transformation human heart]

And just as the organ of the larynx will be transformed, so too will the human heart. It is the organ which stands in intimate connection with the circulation. Now science believes that the heart is a kind of pump; that is a grotesquely fantastic idea. Occultism has never made such a fantastic statement, as has modern materialism.

It is the feelings of the soul which give rise to the movement of the blood; the soul drives the blood, and the heart moves because it is driven by the blood. Thus the truth is exactly the opposite of what materialistic science states. Man today, however, cannot guide his heart as he will; when he feels anxiety, it beats faster, since the feeling acts on the blood and this quickens the motion of the heart. But what is suffered involuntarily by man today, will later, at a higher stage of evolution, be in his own power.

Later on he will drive his blood by his own volition, and cause the movement of his heart as today he moves the muscles of his hand. The heart with its peculiar structure is a crux, a riddle for modern science. It has diagonally striped fibres, which are otherwise only to be found in voluntary muscles. Why? Because the heart has not yet reached the end of its evolution, but is an organ of the future; because it will in the future be a voluntary muscle. Thus it already shows the rudiments of this in its structure.

All that goes on in the soul changes the organism. And if you now imagine the man who is able to create his own likeness through the spoken word, whose heart has become a voluntary muscle, who will have altered yet other organs, then you have a conception of the future of the human race in future planetary incarnations of our earth. Humanity will progress on our earth as far as it is possible under the influence of a mineral kingdom. This mineral kingdom, in spite of its having arisen the last, will be the first to disappear again in its present form. Man will then no longer build up his body from mineral substances as today, the coming human body will only incorporate into itself substances of a plant nature. All that works in man today, as mineral will disappear. In order to give you a seemingly grotesque example: the human saliva of today is a mineral product, for the physical body is an inter-action of mineral processes. When man will have ended his mineral evolution he will no longer have a mineral spittle; it will be of a plant-nature — man will, so to speak, spit flowers. Glands will no more secrete what is mineral, but a plant-like substance. The mineral kingdom is brought to an end by the evolutionary return of humanity to plant-like existence.

[Future Jupiter]

Thus the human being lives over to Future Jupiter inasmuch as he expels all that is mineral and passes over to the creativeness of the plant. And inasmuch as he then later passes over to animal-creation — the animals will be different from those of today — when his heart will have progressed so far that it can appear as a creator, then he will create in the animal world, as today he creates in the mineral kingdom, ...

[Future Venus]

..and then the Venus condition will arise. And when he can create his kind by virtue of uttering his own likeness, then is the meaning of evolution complete, then is the word fulfilled: “Let us create man in our own image.”

Only by observing this aspect — that the body will be moulded from the soul — will man really transform the human race. Only through a thinking trained in the occult and spiritual sense, will there appear what has been described as the transformation of the heart and the larynx. What humanity thinks today, that will it be in the future. A humanity that thinks materialistically will produce frightful beings in the future, and a humanity that thinks spiritual thoughts, so works upon and transforms the future organism that beautiful human bodies will proceed from it.


Transformation of soul-forces and stages in the evolution of physical organs

Pituitary and pineal glands

See additionally also:


already quoted above

In the future only three organs will remain; the heart as Buddhi-organ, the two-petalled lotus-flower between the eyes, and the left hand as the organ of movement. This future state is also related to Blavatsky's indication (of a second spinal column). The pineal gland and the pituitary gland organise a second spinal column which later unites itself with the first. The second spinal column will descend in front from the head.


Every organ that had a past will also have a future. The pineal gland will again be an important organ in the future. 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.

But not only those who are now doing these exercises, but indeed all human beings, will in the future have a developed pineal gland.

With those people who will constitute an evil race, it will be an organ for the worst and most terrible impulses, and it will be so large that it forms the largest part of the body. As one sees many gnats in the distance as a swarm of gnats, so one would then be able to see the Earth itself as a great gland in space because so many glandular human bodies will be walking around on the Earth.

However those who have developed their pineal gland in the proper way will have a noble and perfect organ.


When we follow the course of Earth-evolution — warmth-condition, air-condition, water-condition, mineral-earthly condition — the human head has participated in all these metamorphoses, the mineral metamorphosis being the first to work outwards in the disintegrating skeleton of the head — though it still retains a certain vitality. But this human head has participated in the earthly-mineral metamorphosis in a way which is even more apparent. In the centre of the human head within the structure of the brain there is an organ shaped like a pyramid, the pineal gland.

This pineal gland, situated in the vicinity of the corpus quadrigemina and the optic thalamus secretes out of itself the so-called brain sand, minute lemon-yellow stones which lie in little heaps at one end of the pineal gland, and which are in fact the mineral element in the human head. If they do not lie there, if man does not bear this brain-sand, this mineral element, within him, he becomes an idiot or a cretin. In the case of normal people the pineal gland is comparatively large. In cretins pineal glands have been found which are actually no larger than hemp seeds; these cannot secrete the brain-sand.

It is actually in this mineral deposit that the spirit-man is situated; and this already indicates that what is living cannot harbour the spirit, but that the human spirit needs the nonliving as its centre-point, that this is above all things necessary to it as independent living spirit.


Related pages

References and further reading

  • 'The Works of Jacob Behmen, The Teutonic Theosopher... with Figures, illustrating his Principles, left by the Reverend William Law' (4 volumes published 1764 [vols. 1 and 2], 1773 [vol. 3] and 1781 [vol. 4])
    • the PDF can be downloaded freely (640 pages), and ..
    • .. contains the famous 'three tables' with an explanation of these figures:

      these three tables are designed to represent Man in his different threefold state: - the first before the Fall, in purity dominion and glory - the second after his Fall, in pollution and perdition - and the third in his rising from the Fall, or on the way of regeneration, in sanctification and tendency to his last perfection. Each of the tables represent Man as to his Body, Soul, and Spirit.

    • An illustration of the deep principles of Jacob Behmen, by William Law (PDF document 2011, by the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica of Joost Ritman, Amsterdam, Netherlands)    
  • Werner Schüpbach: Die Stufen der Menschwerdung in der Evolution der Erde (3 Volumes, 1977, 527 pages)