Overview of solar system evolution

From Anthroposophy

Our solar system is to be considered as a whole and as an evolving organism. What we see and call our physical solar system is just a small part of it, a tip of the iceberg visible for physical senses and contemporary waking consciousness. The solar system is really a whole of evolving spiritual beings that roll-off a scheme of creation instigated by the three Logoi and the First Hierarchy. Central to this scheme or plan is the development of new classes of spiritual beings, furthering the existing spiritual hierarchies of spiritual beings. Man is the tenth hierarchy in this scheme, and an exciting breakthrough as it is the first class of spiritual beings that have free choice and love as the basis for future creation.


Therefore we can consider the solar system evolution from various aspects:

  • the rhythm of evolution: the three dimensions of evolution, with the seven planetary stages with pralaya and manvantara, etc
  • the development of the various classes of spiritual beings in and through this rhythm, through the twelve conditions of consciousness, to sacrifice and creation
  • principle during solar system evolution where the different planets split off to present communities for beings at different stages of evolution, illustrations for example:
  • the evolution of Man as the tenth hierarchy, the development of Man's bodily principles, intertwined with all other spiritual beings
  • the cosmogony of Pherecydes of Syros already describes the previous planetary stages of Earth, incl. separation of Sun and Moon, from ancient clairvoyance, eg with Kronos (Old Saturn), Zeus (Old Sun), Chthon (the earth after withdrawal of the moon), and Gea (Earth) (1909-08-26-GA113)
  • the planetary seals, symbolic representation of astral images for the seven planetary stages of evolution, created by Rudolf Steiner and used on the seven pillars of the first Goetheanum


Schema FMC00.149 gives a tabular synthesis showing the development of the Spectrum of elements and ethers and the development of our current Four kingdoms of nature, as well as Man's developing Condition of Consciousness.

For the future redeeming of the other three kingdoms that allowed Man's ascent (see table), see Man and nature's kingdoms in evolution


Schema FMC00.055 gives a more schematic representation centered on the Development of Man. In the first three planetary stages, the development of the lower bodily principles and a scaffold for Man's higher triad. The last three stages are the spiritualization of the lower to the higher spiritual Man. The I stands central to this evolution on the current planetary stage Earth.

FMC00.218A is a drawing from Rudolf Steiner in a letter to Marie Steiner, illustrating the development of Man's bodily principles in the seven main planetary stages of evolution, see also FMC00.055 above.


FMC00.149A is a BBD depicting the planetary stages in evolution

Schema FMC00.055A is a simplified comprehensive illustration of the seven planetary stages of evolution

Schema FMC00.014 gives a more schematic representation expanding Schema FMC00.055 above with the Three dimensions of evolution: CoC, CoL and CoF, and homing in on the current planetary stage down to the current epoch and cultural age.

Schema FMC00.203 shows the first six planetary stages in the three dimensions of evolution, to point out that for the evolution of Mankind, there is always only one but different CoL that is important per planetary stage (1905-02-06-GA090B, for nuance see explanation of this lecture reference on Earth rounds perspective). On Earth that is the current mineral CoL, on Future Jupiter it will be the plant CoL. On Old Moon Mankind was still at the level of the third EK, see The elementary kingdoms


Schema FMC00.276 below (click the schema, and click again to use the zoom to enlarge) shows the progression and contribution of the various spiritual hierarchies in the different CoL of the planetary stages mapping to the different CoC for Man. All spiritual hierarchies evolve themselves in a continuous dynamic, and develop through these stages along the various Conditions of Consciousness. Bold and underlined are the hierarchy that offer the sacrifice for the substance from which Man's bodily principle are woven, as well as the hierarchy that is going through the so-called 'human stage' (CoC=4).

See also The two halves of an evolutionary cycle and Overlapping evolutionary periods

Below the main table one can see the (subconscious) development of Man's higher triad (see also Schema FMC00.055 below), that than connects and merges with the lower triad on Earth.

This table can be used to deepen one's understanding by considering various perspectives:

  • Note the principle of AM and PM is explained oa in the lecture cycle on Genesis, as well as 'A Study Companion to Outline of Esoteric Science' by Almon Clopper. See also The two halves of an evolutionary cycle for more background on the influence of each hierarchy before and after the pralaya transition.
  • Compare this table with Schema's FMC00.149 and FMC00.203 above. Observe the development of the evil subhuman races, the first evil race will go through the 'human stage' on Future Jupiter. Compare this especially with FMC00.238 on I-less human beings, to see how the Jupiter-man is already appearing in the second half of the Earth evolution, just as Man was already appearing in the second half of the Old Moon evolution.
  • For another perspective, compare this with Schema FMC00.143 and FMC00.143A on The elementary kingdoms, which are another way to slide and represent the evolution of the human bodily principles through these stages.
  • The hierarchy which is able to sacrifice is at a specific Condition of Consciousness, so it can emanate it's own substance. Compare with FMC00.077 and FMC00.077A on Creation of solar system. Schemas FMC00.077A also depicts how on the upper end of the schema hierarchies flow back into the higher planes or the Logoi - see Creation by the three Logoi, eg Schema FMC00.067.
  • Related to the previous point, to consider what happens at pralaya (and maha-pralaya between an evolutionary cycle with seven stages like our solar system): The shedding of budhi around the nirvana plane is explained in 1904-11-09-GA089 and 1904-11-10-GA089, see also Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension.

Schema FMC00.304 is a meta schema for purposes of study and contemplation, see Discussion area below.


Schema FMC00.196 shows various original illustrations from different sources in the last 140 years (1880-2020), representing the chain of seven planetary stages of evolution (and Conditions of Consciousness or CoC), and the seven underlying Conditions of Life (CoL) - see also Three dimensions of evolution. Sources include theosophy (Helena Blavatsky, Max Heindel - middle) as well as anthroposophy (Iwer Thor Lorenzen - lower right)


The variants Schema FMC00.196A to C illustrate how people have tried to make a synthesis of the complexity in a single schema or chart.

Schema FMC00.196A is by Willy Conrad (1946):


Schema FMC00.196B below provides pictures of the schema by Ernst Hagemann (1959), and is added here for illustrative purposes only as the original is allmost 4 by 1 meter. It shows the bewildering complexity of trying to integrate the manifold dimensions into a synthetic representation. One can consider ao the following perspectives; for each planetary stage in evolution: the evolution of Man, of all spiritual beings or the hierarchies, the kingdoms arising in the planetary spheres, and the constitution of the solar system in terms of planetary bodies.

Schema FMC00.196C is a low resolution copy of a modern schema by Ron Gordon (click to enlarge). The schema is available in German and English languages and can be downloaded in high resolution JPG, PDF or XLS from Ron's site.

For a higher resolution of the English version download the PDF version

Schema FMC00.414 focuses on the Cosmic breath of Brahma and the fact that even the planetary stages of evolution display a descent followed by an ascent, see also The two halves of an evolutionary cycle. See also Schema FMC00.196 that shows the various planes or worlds of consciousness for the different Conditions of Life in each stage. This schema was made to allow further extension with annotations regarding the implications.

For example:

  • relate this schema to the wheel of planes Schema FMC00.078 and the fact that there is no evil above the higher spirit plane
  • contemplate the meaning of the fact that with the Old Moon cycle, the whole stages dips completely below the budhi and nirvana planes (see Monad) and Creation by the three Logoi

Lecture coverage and references


describes how the previous planetary stages of Earth were already taught in ancient times, with the example of the cosmogony of Pherecydes of Syros (see wikipedia page which places him at ca 580-520 BC, whereas his (possible) pupil Pythagoras is placed at ca 570-495 BC)

Let us now try to find a link between the results which super-sensible investigation has given us and life in ancient times. It is obvious that some other method might be adopted, but the purpose of this course of lectures is to compare what can be found irrespective of any historical record, with what has been handed down by another kind of tradition.

We will go back, not so very far, to a historical personage who lived in a comparatively ancient period of Greek culture, of whom history knows very little and the length of whose life even is veiled in much uncertainty.

Pherecydes of Syros is in a certain respect the forerunner of the other Greek sages. He lived at a time in Greek spiritual development called the epoch of the Seven Sages. This period preceded that of all historical Greek philosophy. The little that external history tells us of Pherecydes of Syros is very interesting; he, among others, is spoken of as the teacher of Pythagoras; and many of the teachings of Herakleitos, of Plato and of later sages can be traced back to him.

It is said that he taught the existence of three principles fundamental to the whole of evolution, and called them Zeus, Kronos and Chthon.

Now what precisely did he mean by these names?

  • It will at once be realised that Kronos is only another name for the Old Saturn evolution. In the teaching of Pherecydes, Kronos is the totality of spiritual beings belonging to the kingdom of Old Saturn, who during the course of the Earth evolution were able to bring about the separation of the Moon.
  • Now for Zeus! Zeus is a word of uncertain meaning when used in ancient times, for it was applied to spiritual individualities at very different stages of evolution. But men in ancient Greece who know something of initiation recognised in Zeus the ruler of the Sun spirits. Zeus lives in the influences which came to the Earth from the Sun.
  • Chthon is a designation of the somewhat chaotic condition of the earth after the withdrawal of the moon, at which time neither plant nor animal nor human forms were to be found.

In most remarkable words, Pherecydes spoke of the holy primordial triad, of Zeus, Kronos and Chthon, principles fundamental to the earth, having come over from pre-terrestrial ages; he also speaks of a further evolution. But in ancient times men did not clothe matters of this kind in such dry, crude concepts as they do today, they drew vivid pictures of what they saw and recognised in spiritual realms.

Pherecydes said: ‘Chthon becomes Gea (today called Earth), because of the gift of Zeus whereby she came to be covered as with a garment.’

This is a wonderful description of that evolution which I have just outlined in a few short words. The earth was alone; outside it were the sun and the moon, the spiritual kingdoms of Zeus and of Kronos. The sun from without began to work upon the earth and to fructify it in its then chaotic state; or, in the language of the old Greek sage, Zeus fructified Chthon. The beneficent influences of the kingdom of Zeus were sent down to the physical earth in the warmth and light of the sun. This was the gift made by Zeus to the earth. The earth covered herself with the garment of plant and animal forms, and with the forms of physical men. Chthon becomes Gea; therefore, because of the gift of Zeus the earth covers herself with a garment.

This is a wonderful picture, expressed in beautiful language, of what super-sensible consciousness is able today to rediscover in the epoch of the Seven Greek Sages. And Pherecydes could not have made such strikingly vivid statements, which can be verified by modern super-sensible consciousness, without definite personal knowledge.

This knowledge he derived from the so-called Phoenician initiation. He was an initiate of the temples of ancient Phoenicia and had brought over into Greece the Temple wisdom which he was at liberty to teach. A great deal of oriental wisdom came over in this way.

This is one example, among many, of the things that may be re-discovered in the words of the old sages independently of historical tradition. In this instance we have not gone back so very far in human history. If we are able rightly to interpret the expressions used, it is also possible to re-discover original teachings of very ancient times. It would, however, be false to accept the simple explanation that this or that Eastern teaching concerning the evolution of the world is found under the same form in Pherecydes of Syros, in the old Egyptian epoch, in the days of the Chaldean sages, and in the ancient Indian period. If this were the case, it might well be imagined that a wisdom rediscovered today is to be found, in different form, wherever humanity has striven after it; that wisdom is one and the same at all times and in all places. In its abstract sense there is not the slightest objection to be raised to this statement; it is true, but it expresses only a portion of the whole truth. Just as from the rest of a plant to the fruit there is not a regular succession of similar forms, but a variety, composed of green leaves, coloured petals, stamens, etc., of higher and higher development, so does diversity appear in the progress of human life on earth. Correct though it is to say that the sense wisdom appears again and again in different forms, an evolution or a development does nevertheless take place; and it is not at all correct to say that we find in ancient Indian times exactly the same conditions as exist today. That would be as inaccurate as to state that the blossom of a plant is the same as the root. True, the same force exists within it, but the reality emerges only if progress and development are recognised to be fundamental expressions of the secrets underlying human evolution. The teachings of the first post-Atlantean epoch may still be given today; what Pherecydes of Syros taught can be repeated today; but the earth evolution has also been enriched, and impulses have since been poured into it.


[1] - About meta-schema FMC00.304

  • The two middle schemas 147 and 143 are Man-centric, they focus on the four bodily principles of Man on Earth, and how they originate from the three previous planetary stages.
  • Start with Schema FMC00.143, that has to be depicted against a background of the Golden Chain, see Schema FMC00.141 on Overview Golden Chain : new seeds ripple in from the higher planes into the spirit world, and bring something new.
  • Now add FMC00.203. Compare 143 with 203 to see how what is 'collapsed' in 143 to CoC level, is expanded in 203 to CoL. The blue principle happens at EK1 in CoL=1 on Old Saturn, the green principle is added on Old Sun, etc.
  • And now add FMC00.276 to see the hierarchies 'at work' in every CoL round.
  • Consider FMC00.149 which broadens the scope or perspective a bit, like a kind of zooming out, and hold or fit this to FMC00.147 (which is Earth kingdoms centric) to see from this zooming out how how Man fits into the dynamic of the hierarchies in the concert across CoL and CoF as symbolized by and depicted in FMC00.203 and FMC00.276.

Related pages

References and further reading