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 to see how Man 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 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 tremendously across the different Conditions of Life and Conditions of Form, 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. The spiritual scientific physiology describes this expression and creation of the spiritual hierarchies that 'houses' the evolving human being.


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

On Earth:

  • Past stages
  • For various historical evolutionary aspects:
    • 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 variance in bodily characteristics versus the 'original plan' is described in: Human races
  • Sphinx - and the past history of human group souls that are joined up and integrated in Man
    • Riddle of the Sphinx - and future of Man
  • 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

Ancient references: sphinx and centaur

Riddle of the Sphinx

The Riddle of the Sphinx relates to the Egyptian Sphinx near the great pyramid in Gizeh, but also to riddle of Man that was put before Man in the Egyptian but also upto the Greek cultural age. The Sphinx is an outerly symbol of a clairvoyant vision of the four elements in Man's etheric body stemming from Lion, Bull, Eagle and Man: in its current physical form Man has integrated and harmonized the lion, bull and eagle influences.

See also: Group souls of humanity

‘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 crawls as a baby 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.

This relates to the Lemurian epoch (quadruped), the current epoch (two), and the future next sixth epoch (three).


See topic page on Centaur.

Man in the next sixth epoch

In 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.


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.

The picture on the left (two drawings of Man) is from an ancient alchemical work by the German mystic and pupil of Jakob Böhme, Johann Georg Gichtel (1638-1710), whose correspondence was published by his disciple as 'Theosophia practica'. It also appears eg 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 left (middle of figure) and on the right the clean version published as part of the lecture (see 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


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.

Riddle Sphinx

1905-06-17-GA091 talks about the Riddle of Sphinx, with the sketch above in Schema FMC00.176

The Riddle of Sphinx is that Man walks on four legs, then on two legs, then on three legs.

Man walked all four as a unigender being in the Lemurian epoch. Currently Man walks on two legs.

In the future Man will walk on three. Both feet and the right side and arm will disappear. Instead there will be a very developed left arm.

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.

1905-08-28-GA091 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.

1905-08-28-GA091 is about the future of the eye, ear and sense of touch


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.


Let us suppose that a man endowed with the ancient clairvoyance wanted — not simply to describe man, who really distorts the several streams which flow into him by harmonising them — but precisely to make manifest these different currents, he would have to say: ‘Something forms the foundation of the human being which cannot be seen physically, the archetypal Phantom which today only appears in physical form because man has harmonised the eagle, bull and lion influences.’ Anyone who wants to study the evolution of man must study man's archetypal Phantom as a super-sensible form. But in order to do this he would have to separate out again what has flowed together in man. He would have to realise that an etheric shadow-form lies behind the whole of human development, and that into this there enters and intermingles a bull-influence, a lion-influence and a bird-influence, in such a way that in the finished man of today they are no longer to be distinguished.

Suppose a culture-epoch — for instance, that of ancient Egypt — were trying to represent human evolution, were trying to put before man the immense riddle of human evolution, then the real man, the archetypal Phantom, which arose as the result of the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions, would have to remain invisible; but, as if out of the invisible, a composite figure would have to be formed, put together out of the forms of bull and lion, with wings such as an eagle has, such as birds in general have. If you recall the all-embracing significance of the figure of the Sphinx, which was intended to represent the great riddle of human evolution, then you have in fact what a clairvoyant culture, which was inwardly aware of the truth about humanity, put before this humanity. The features which stand out separately in the Sphinx are in human nature inwardly interwoven. For clairvoyant sight the human form has a very strange appearance. If one allows such a sphinx, made up of a lion-form and a bull-form, together with the wings of a bird, to work upon the clairvoyant vision, and if one completes it by adding the human Phantom which underlies it, if one weaves these elements together, then the human form as we have it today comes into being before us. The clairvoyant consciousness cannot then look upon a sphinx — which to begin with does not resemble a man at all — without saying to himself: ‘Thou art I myself!’

Now it should be noted that in the course of this study we have also thrown light upon the four members of man from another standpoint. A Phantom, a shadow-form, designated in esotericism as Man, came over as the product of the Saturn, Sun and Moon evolutions. In the process of the densification of this Phantom the influences named in esotericism, lion, bull and eagle are at work. And here we have the four esoteric symbols which together make up the human being and which have a profound meaning for human evolution.

We have said that in the course of humanity's evolution on the Earth, forces from without, cosmic forces, were at work, both upon the human being himself, and upon other creatures, especially the bird creation. That in fact came about during the Atlantean time; so that one can say that an influence from cosmic space came down into those parts of the human organisation to which normal human consciousness no longer reaches. This influence was at work in Atlantis, and of course it has also continued in the post-Atlantean time. This was the current coming from what I called yesterday the upper gods, the gods who were in a sense the representations of the sub-earthly, the Chthonic gods. They are Beings who were encountered by the pupils of the Greek Mysteries, who had to wrestle with the great riddle of the Sphinx. They had to behold the unconscious part of the human being in such a way that through self-knowledge they also arrived at the four-foldness of humanity.

Pituitary and pineal glands

See additionally also:

1905-09-29-GA093A 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.


The Sphinx at Gizeh, Egypt

1914-03-07-GA152 contains the remarkable statement:

As regards the power of speech, however, the Egyptians could not even acquire that dim comprehension which they had for the power which enables man to stand upright. Their souls had first to undergo the right schooling, so that in later times they might be able to understand the riddle — how the Christ lives in man's gift of speech. That riddle was to be received with the most sacred reverence by the maturing human soul.

This was provided for in the most wonderful way by the Hierophants, the Initiates of the Egyptian civilization, when they erected the enigmatic Sphinx with its dumb, granite form which only produced sound under the influence of the Cosmos when the human beings of that day were in an exalted state of consciousness.

In the contemplation of the silent Sphinx, from which sound only proceeded at sunrise under certain cosmic conditions and in certain relations, there came to man that deep reverence by which the soul was prepared to understand the language which must be spoken when it would be brought to higher consciousness how the Christ-Impulse gradually enters into the evolution of earthly humanity. That which the Sphinxes themselves could not yet say, although they prepared the way for it, had to be said to mankind.

Something similar has been stated about the Colossi of Memnon, Thebes (quote from website)

These statues were a major tourist attraction in the ancient world. Each morning, visitors were rewarded by the sound of tones emitted from the statues with the rising of the sun. Conventional historians like to attribute this well documented phenomenon to a freak of nature due to damage to the statues caused by an earthquake in the 1st century BC. However, as early as the 5th century BC, Assyrian soldiers partially dismantled the statues in order to find the hidden mechanism within which they suspected was creating the tones. They found nothing. There was no mechanism to find. The tones were created by the subtle knowledge of the Egyptian priests in fashioning forms which resonated with the etheric formative forces streaming out of the earth each morning.

Location of the heart

See Schema FMC00.176. The heart location is close to the center of the chest but slighly shifted to the left: about two thirds is on the left side, one third is on the right side.

Related pages

References and further reading