Nerve-sense subsystem

From Anthroposophy

Man's subsystem consisting of senses and nervous system


  • the oldest
  • polarity with metabolic-limb subsystem - the head, dying off
  • matter is destroyed
  • interface between blood and nervous system
  • evolutionary aspect - the forming of senses and nerves
  • link to physiology of the 12 senses (zodiac)
  • astral body and I-organization
  • nervous system:
    • in the Zarthustrian teachings in Persian cultural age, the Zodiac was seen as an external expression or image, of 'Zervana Akarana', the primal reality of Being living and weaving through eternity. Macrocosmic forces coming from twelve directions of the universe work into Man: six directed towards the light side of the Zodiac traversed by the sun by day; the other six towards the dark side turned towards Ahriman. In Man the microcosmic counterparts are to be found in the twelve main cerebral nerves or Amshaspands through which the archangels worked into the human head. In the Indian cultural age, the angels or 'Izads' formed the 28, 30 to 31 spinal nerves. Also Germanic mythology mentions twelve streams flowing from Niflheim to Muspelheim. These are now astral streams, but in the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs these were etheric streams. These streams also link to the canals observed on Mars in our age. (1910-12-31-GA126)


Schema FMC00.135 shows (left) the nervous system as the instrument of the human astral body, interfacing with the blood and I-organization (right).


Lecture coverage and references


.. what was produced in man through the influence of the various aspects of the moon. We have spoken of the twenty-eight nerves proceeding from the spinal cord, which stem from the positions of the moon during the twenty-eight days that the moon requires to return to its first form. We have probed the mystery of how, through the cosmic forces, these twenty-eight pairs of nerves were formed in man from outside.

1910-12-31-GA126 makes the link with the concept of the Zodiac man

It should not be beyond the scope of modern physiology to know where the microcosmic counterparts of the twelve Amshaspands are to be found. They are the twelve main nerves proceeding from the head; these are nothing else than material densifications of what arose in the human belong through the instreaming of the twelve macrocosmic powers.

The ancient Persians pictured the twelve Archangel-Beings working from the twelve directions of the Zodiac, working into the human head in twelve rays, in order gradually to produce what is now our intelligence. Naturally they did not work into man for the first time in the ancient Persian epoch, but finally they worked in such a way that we can speak of twelve cosmic radiations, twelve Archangel-radiations, which then densified in the human head into twelve main cerebral nerves.

And just as knowledge in a later age includes what was already known in an earlier one, so could the Persians also know that Spirits of a lower rank than the Archangels had been at work previously, in the Indian epoch. The Persians called the Beings of the rank below the Amshaspands, “Izads,” and of these they enumerated 28 to 31. The Izads, therefore, are Beings who give rise to a less lofty activity; to soul-activity in man. They send in their rays, which correspond to the 28, 30 to 31 spinal nerves. And so in Zarathustrianism you have our modern physiology translated into terms of the spiritual, the macrocosmic, in the twelve Amshaspands and in the 28 to 31 Izads of the next lower Hierarchy.

A true fact of historical evolution is that what was originally seen spiritually is now presented to us through anatomical dissection; things that were formerly accessible to clairvoyant vision appear in later epochs in materialistic form. A wonderful bridge is disclosed here between Zarathustrianism, with its spirituality, and modern physiology, with its materialism. Of course, the destiny of the great majority of mankind makes it inevitable that such an idea as that of the connection between the Persian Amshaspands and Izads and our nerves is regarded as lunacy, especially by those who study the materialistic physiology of to-day. But after all, we have plenty of time, for the Persian epoch will be fully recapitulated only in the sixth cultural age which follows our own. Then, for the first time, the conditions prevailing will enable such things to be intelligible to a large part of humanity. Therefore we have to content ourselves with the fact that indications of them can be given today as part of the spiritual-scientific outlook. And such indications must be given if a spiritual-scientific conception of the world is to be spoken of in the true sense, and attention called, not merely in general phrases, to the fact that man is a microcosmic replica of the macrocosm.


Related pages

References and further reading