Passage through the planetary spheres after death

From Anthroposophy


  • for the transition between soul and spirit world, see also: Interpenetration of astral and spirit worlds#Transfer to spirit land after kamaloka shedding of astral corpse and further with causal body
  • Mars-Jupiter-Saturn (H1 Thrones-Cherubim-Seraphim) give a 'vista' .. determine what we shall experience as the fulfillment of our karma in our next life
  • 'renunciation of devachan': "When a human being has progressed so far that he has transformed his entire etheric body, Devachan or the spirit world is no longer necessary. This is the case with the occult pupil who has perfected his development and who has transformed his etheric body so that it remains intact after death and has no need to pass through the spirit world" (1905-09-27-GA093A)

Moon sphere

  • see also: Kamaloka journey in the astral world after death
  • where?
    • spatially the sphere of the Moon orbit (1912-11-03-GA140)
    • expands upto sphere indicated by the position of the Moon as its outermost boundary = end of kamaloca (1912-11-18-GA140)
  • kamaloca: we are still longing to be connected with the earth, still know what we have done and thought (1924-05-24-GA239 in section Venus)
  • moral blemish cannot enter the spiritual world, remains behind in the Moon regions (1924-05-16-GA236, also 1924-05-24-GA239)
  • inhabitants Moon sphere (great primeval teachers) concerned with Man, as at one time they lived among them

Mercury sphere

  • esoteric Mercury, current astronomical planet Venus is meant - see note on reversal under Planets#the different planets
  • The sphere of Mercury is the sphere in which our moral qualities are expressed (1913-02-04-GA144)
  • effect of morality during incarnate life
    • hermit or not
      • For the Man with a moral attitude of soul, the pictures are present, enveloping the soul and he can have a certain degree of communion everywhere with other human beings .. and this is due to his moral attitude. However, Man with an immoral attitude of soul becomes a kind of hermit in the spiritual world. (1912-11-26-GA140)
      • ability to expand to this sphere depends on moral attitude and ethical concepts and feelings developed on Earth, such as compassion and love. If lacking, the soul dwells like a hermic, with fearful longing. Former relationships with people cannot be altered (can be painful). Homer: "the land of the shadows where nothing can change" (1912-11-03-GA140)
    • see also topic page Karma or destiny
      • relationship between virtues during life on Earth, and life after death (1913-02-04-GA144, 1913-02-16-GA140)
        • case 1 - lack of moral responsibility, conscience -> servants of evil spirits of illness and death
        • case 2 - lovers of ease and indolence/laziness -> servants of Ahrimanic spirits of opposition and 'malice of things'
  • substance head falls away -> enter as 'headless'. If good: more or less complete, if bad: greatly mutilated (1924-05-24-GA239)
  • human life: spiritual consequences of illness are taken away. Old initiation knew that the period in a human life between 7 and 14 years is the healthiest, due to Mercury (1924-06-08-GA239)
  • KR case studies: Heine (1924-06-01-GA240): critical subtle thinking and perception

Venus sphere

  • esoteric Venus (planetary sphere), current astronomical planet Mercury (planet closest to the sun) - see note on reversal under Planets#the different planets
  • social being in this sphere when religious inclination, else cut off or locked up (1912-11-03-GA140)
  • spiritual beings: archai (1924-05-24-GA239)
  • human life: in puberty, love is born (1924-06-08-GA239)

Transition between soul and spirit world

  • when leaving the moon sphere and entering the sun sphere of the cosmos, Man deposits in the moon sphere all that was woven for usout of our moral qualities. This represents something like a small package, which we must deposit in the moon sphere in order that we may enter the sun sphere as purely spiritual beings (1923-05-17-GA226)
  • after having passed the sphere of Saturn, we become ripe to experience the pure spiritual world, or the passage from the soul-world into spirit-land. Man needs a helper in the spiritual world as he is unable to achieve the crossing by himself. This is different before or after the MoG. Currently so after the MoG .. by turning in heart and mind and feeling to the Christ and the MoG already here on Earth, Man receives power that will enable him to get beyond the spheres of Sun and Saturn, and enter into spirit-land or the world of Stars. (1922-11-19-GA218)
  • see: Interpenetration of astral and spirit worlds#Transfer to spirit land after kamaloka shedding of astral corpse and further with causal body

Sun sphere

  • repair of etheric body (what previously was a reservoir of forces, is now the Self) -> Sun sphere: receive a healthy etheric body in next incarnation (1912-11-18-GA140)
  • MoG: Christ has sown his spirit seed in every human soul, and now progress consiste in souls of men becoming conscious of this (1912-11-18-GA140)
  • spiritual beings: H2 (1924-05-24-GA239)
  • only moral relationships (no physical, intentions, etc) .. moral are not an ideal here as on Earth, but a reality (1924-05-24-GA239)
  • can only be described in a living way (1924-05-24-GA239)
    • good thoughts, morality <-> spiritual communion with H2
    • bad thoughts, morality <-> have left these behind on Moon sphere -> lonely abandoned soul
  • Sun sphere is pure goodness: shing, radiant goodness, no evil has any place in it (1924-05-24-GA239)
  • how it is: everything we call the world is within us:
    • Moon-Mercury-Venus .. limbs
    • Sun sphere: rhythmic
    • Mars-Jupiter-Saturn (cosmic word/cosmic thoughts&wisdom/cosmic memory) constitute our head in the Sun existence (as an organ of intelligence & (reason?)
  • Sun is the scene where spiritual prototypes of future generations are shaped (1924-06-08-GA239
    • in first half of Sun existence .. part is spiritual reality = foundation for body life N+1
    • in second half of Sun existence .. part is dissolved to picture = foundation head life N+1
    • preparation of moral qualities + spiritual part of karma (eg specific talents) .. these are further elaborated in the Mars-Jupiter-Saturn spheres

Mars sphere

  • cosmic speech - the word
  • music of the spheres; required: spiritual affinity .. all materialists are shut off like hermits (1912-11-03-GA140)
  • Buddha impulse (1913-03-02-GA140, also 1913-01-14-GA141)
  • spiritual beings: Thrones (1924-05-29-GA239)
    • Mars beings are 'word beings'
  • KR case studies: Voltaire, Heine, Ignatius Loyola
    • Voltaire .. "the sphere of intellectual judgment fraugt with elements of criticism/rebellion"
    • Heine .. squabbler, bad tempered argument, often trivial matters, quarrel about small matters, everything's debatable .. Mars sphere = 'debate' (1924-06-01-GA240)
    • Ignatius Loyola: characteristics: strongly aggressive nature, wonderful gift of speech ("Mars beings prepare from out of the cosmos all that belongs to speech and language and place it in the karma of human beings" .. "wherever artistic skill and fluency in speech show themselves in the karma") (1924-08-24-GA240)

planetoid belt

  • the planetoid belt are spiritual colonies of beings from Jupiter and Saturn who have withdrawn there. They represent a kind of preparatory substitute, before Man is able to enter the region of Jupiter and Saturn. (1923-08-28-GA227)

Jupiter sphere

  • cosmic thoughts
  • earth has become meaningless, cosmos begins to work powerfully (1912-11-03-GA140)
  • harmony of the spheres 'changes', eg as orchestral would change to choral music (increasingly tone, filled with meaning, expressive of its actual being)
  • spiritual beings: working of the Cherubim (1924-05-29-GA239)
  • Jupiter beings described in 1924-06-01-GA240
  • KR case studies: Goethe and Levi (see KR lectures L35 en L38)

Saturn sphere

  • harmony of the spheres: full contents bestowed upon it as expression Cosmic Word (1912-11-03-GA140)
  • in Saturn sphere, conditions are created that enable Man to transmute. Eg forces acquired through knowledge of spiritual science, into forces .. so in next life the person has a natural inclination towards the spiritual)
  • spiritual beings: workings of the Seraphim (1924-05-29-GA239)
  • beings in this sphere have intense, all pervading consciousness of the past (more or less unconscious of the immediate present) (1924-06-10-GA239)
  • Saturn karma works in deep, very deep regions of the soul
  • KR case studies: Schiller (1924-06-10-GA239) and Victor Hugo (KR L35)
    • Human beings who bring down their karma from the Saturn sphere are fired with enthusiasm for the future, for ideals which point to the future (1924-06-10-GA239)


FMC00.498 is an overview diagram showing the process between death and a new birth, with some (non-exhaustive) references for the various phases. This can serve as a map to organize one's study coverage and initialize one's overall understanding based on the references that provide a starting point for the different phases and aspects. As most schemas on this site, also this schema originates from a pencil drawing made along such study process (DL 2016).


Lecture coverage and references

General overview


Let us consider the astral body first. After death the human being expands, quite literally expands, into all the planetary spheres.

During the Kamaloka period, as a being of soul-and-spirit, man expands to the boundary demarcated by the orbit of the Moon around the Earth. Beings of various ranks are involved in the process.

After that he expands until the Mercury sphere is reached — Mercury as understood in occultism. Thence he expands to the spheres of Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and finally Saturn. The being who has passed through the gate of death becomes in the real sense a Mercury dweller, a Venus dweller and so on, and in a certain sense he must have the faculty to become thoroughly acclimatised in these other planetary worlds.

How does he succeed or fail in this respect?

In the first place, when his Kamaloka period is over, a man must himself possess some quality that will enable him to establish a definite relationship with the forces in the Mercury sphere into which he then passes. If the lives of various human beings between death and the new birth are investigated, it will be found that they differ greatly in the Mercury sphere. A clear difference is evident according to whether an individual passes into the Mercury sphere with a moral disposition of soul, with the outcome of a moral or an immoral life. There are of course nuances of every possible degree. A man with a moral quality of soul, who bears within him the fruits of a moral life, is what may be called a spiritually ‘social’ being in the Mercury sphere; it is easy for him to establish relationships with other beings — either with people who died before him or also with beings who inhabit the Mercury sphere — and to share experiences with them. An immoral man becomes a hermit, feels excluded from the community of the other inhabitants of this sphere. Such is the consequence in the life between death and the new birth of a moral or immoral disposition of soul. It is important to understand that morality forges our connection and relationship with the beings living in this sphere and an immoral disposition of soul encloses us as it were in a prison. We know that the other beings are there but we seem to be within a shell and make no contact with them. This self-isolation is an outcome of an earthly life that was unsociable and lacking in morality.

In the next sphere, which we will call the Venus sphere — in occultism it is always so named — a man's contact with it is mainly dependent upon a religious attitude of soul. Contact with the beings of this sphere can be established by individuals who during their life on Earth came to realise that everything transitory in physical things and in man himself is after all related in some way to immortality; thus they had a feeling that the attitude of soul in every individual should incline to divine-spiritual reality. On the other hand, anyone who is a materialist and cannot direct his soul to the eternal, the divine, the Immortal, is condemned in the Venus sphere to be imprisoned within his own being, in isolation. Particularly in connection with this sphere we can learn from occult investigation how in our astral body during life on Earth we create the conditions of existence as they will be in the Venus sphere. On the Earth we must already develop understanding of and inclination for what we hope to contact and experience in that sphere. Let us consider for a moment the fact that human beings living on the Earth during entirely different epochs — as was both inevitable and right — were connected with divine-spiritual life through the various religions and prevailing conceptions of the world. The only way in which human evolution could progress was that out of the one source — for example the religious life — at different times and for very different peoples, according to their natural traits and climatic and other conditions of existence, the varying religious principles were imparted by those destined for this mission. These religious principles stem from one source but are graduated according to the conditions prevailing among particular peoples. Humanity today is still divided into groups determined by their religious tenets and views of the world. But it is through what is thereby formed in our souls that we prepare our understanding of and possibility of contacts in the Venus sphere. The religions of the Hindu, of the Chinese, of the Mohammedan, of the Christian, prepare the soul in such a way that in the Venus sphere it will understand and be attracted to those individuals whose souls have been moulded by the same religious tenets. Occult investigation shows clearly that whereas nowadays men on Earth are divided by race, descent and so forth, and can be distinguished by these factors — although this will change in the future and has already begun to do so — in the Venus sphere in which we live together with other human beings there are no such divisions. The only division there depends upon their religious principles and conceptions of the world while they were on the Earth. It is true that to some extent a classification according to race is possible because this classification on Earth — even according to religion — is still, in a certain respect, a matter of racial relationships. All the same, it is not the element of race that is decisive, but what the soul experiences through its adherence to the principles of a particular religion.


is a really good lecture describing the whole process


Moon sphere


If we look back on the descriptions given yesterday, we shall be aware that man, living through successive times after death — and we have to use the word “time” in relation to physical conditions — comes first of all to the realm of the Moon Beings, and then passes on to that of the Sun Beings.

[Moral judgments by Moon-beings]

The Moon Beings still belong to earthly-existence in a certain sense and the experiences a man goes through under their influence in the soul-world are indeed cosmic memories of earthly existence. He has experiences also of his own earthly life, though now in a backwards direction, and these are united with the judgments of the Cosmos, as I called them yesterday. These cosmic judgments are made known to men after death through the Moon Beings. We then come under the influence of these Beings, and it is they who cause the judgments to flow into us, in the same way as those that flow into us, here on Earth, from minerals, plants and animals.

So we can say: On entering spiritual-cosmic existence after death, a man gains his first glimpse into such cosmic perceptions as still proceed from Beings once connected with the Earth. We have already had occasion to speak of how these Beings, before taking up their abode in the cosmic stronghold of the Moon, were Teachers of human beings in the ancient Mysteries. Hence, what a man once experienced on Earth, in primeval times, he now experiences when journeying through the soul-world, under the influence of those Beings who have been raised — we might perhaps say — to become inhabitants of the Moon. We can truly speak of them in this way if sufficient consideration is given to what was said in my last lecture.

These inhabitants of the Moon, under the leadership of the one-time Teachers of mankind, judge quite differently from the way things are judged by people on Earth. For people on Earth, in their life between birth and death, are now approaching a stage completed by the Moon-dwellers in long past ages.

Reckoning by earthly years, we must say that the inhabitants of the Moon, when on Earth, accomplished quite 15,000 years ago what human beings still have to do. More than 15,000 years have passed since these Moon inhabitants acquired the power of making judgments which bring together the naturalistic and the moral.

We on Earth keep our naturalistic judgments separate, and when giving an opinion about a stone or an animal we leave morality aside. We say: “Nature follows only an amoral necessity.” But this is not true of the world as a whole. Even though we may consider that moral judgments are not applicable to individual animals, or to plants, or to minerals above all, in their separate forms of existence, yet the very fact of their creation, of their being in the world at all, is entirely the result of cosmic moral judgment.

Now these Moon-dwellers already judge in terms of cosmic morality. Therefore, when we have passed through the gate of death and are together with them, we must listen to all the Cosmos has to say about what we have thought, wished, felt, willed and done on Earth. Our entire earthly life is exposed to the light of cosmic judgment, and we learn the value our deeds have for the whole great universe.

From these lessons we develop the impulse to complete, to correct, or in some way to set right, during our next life on Earth, whatever we have done either to help or to hinder the evolution of the world. And so, while thus under the influence of the Moon Beings, we take up the impulses for our future destiny — for our karma, as oriental wisdom has always called it. These impulses are thus absorbed while the human being is still under the influence of dwellers in the Moon, who are able to tell him how much his earthly deeds and thoughts are worth for the Cosmos.

The spiritual Beings of the higher world, in whose neighbourhood a man lives while under the influence of the Moon-dwellers, are those grouped together in my Occult Science as the Hierarchy of Angels, Archangels, Archai. Of the ranks of Beings whose realm a man enters after death, they are the first who do not have to live through a phase of earthly embodiment. On their side, they stand in close connection with the Beings of the still higher Hierarchies. But it is with this Hierarchy of Angels, Archangels and Archai that a man is essentially concerned during his Moon existence after death, while the higher Hierarchies are still beyond his ken.

  • The judgments of the Angels are especially important for the deeds of individual men, and it is thus from the Angels that a man learns the value his deeds have in the Cosmos as a whole.
  • From the Archangels he learns more about the value of what he has done in connection with the language he speaks, with the people to whom he belongs, and from this source also come impulses which work into his further destiny, his karma.
  • From the Archai he learns what value his actions during a given period on Earth will have for the time when he has to descend once more from spiritual heights into earthly existence.

[DL note: on third hierarchy, evolutionary, between death and new birth]

By means of all that a man can achieve in this way if — and I beg you to bear the following in mind — he has rightly prepared himself for life after death through the impulses he is able to receive on Earth, and particularly (as we shall see later) through his attitude towards the great leaders of mankind, he can then find the way over from the sphere of the Moon-dwellers to the sphere of the Sun-dwellers.

The inhabitants of the Moon we already know as those Beings who once dwelt on Earth and were in close connection with it. In a very, very much earlier age this was true also of the inhabitants of the Sun; they, too, participated in earthly affairs.

On coming to the realm of the Moon-dwellers it is quite clear to a man that he is meeting Beings who once dwelt with him on Earth. And when he enters the realm of the Sun Beings, something like a powerful cosmic memory of a primeval age comes over him — an age which in Occult Science you will find described from another point of view. He is taken possession of by something like a memory of an infinitely ancient time, when the Sun, with its inhabitants, was still one with the Earth. After death, therefore, we make our way through the spiritual Cosmos by growing into, as it were, two spiritual cosmic regions where we meet those Beings with whom, at one time, when we lived on Earth as quite different beings, we were closely associated.

So it is that by going through these experiences between death and a new birth we look back in grand, mighty memories on the evolution of the Earth in the Cosmos. Whereas a man, while here on Earth, goes through only part of human evolution, between death and rebirth he goes through part of cosmic evolution, part of the evolution of the universe. Those Beings who inhabit the Sun are such that in far distant times they had already risen above the experiences possible for earthly beings, and above those possible for the Beings of the Moon.


The first sphere into which the human being passes after death is the sphere of the Moon; that is to say, he enters the region of the Spiritual Beings who have their dwelling-place in the Moon.

What kind of Beings are these?

From what has been said in my book Occult Science, you will know that the Moon was not always out in the heavens where it is now. As a matter of fact, there are many strange things to be observed about the Moon.

  • It is curious, for instance, that in ordinary text-books and school-books no mention is made, as a rule, of the fact that every year the Moon is coming nearer to the Earth. Most people are not aware of this, because they do not find it in the text-books; it is true, nevertheless.
  • The Moon was not always out there in the Cosmos; there was a time when the Moon and its substance were within the Earth. The Moon then separated from the Earth and passed out into the Cosmos. It is therefore only in the course of Earth evolution that the Moon has become a dwelling place in itself for Spiritual Beings.

And for what kind of Spiritual Beings?

In my books and lectures I have often spoken of the great primeval Teachers who lived among men in very ancient times of Earth evolution. When we look back with real understanding to ancient times, we cannot but be filled with deep inner reverence for the marvellous wisdom that was given long since to men on Earth by these great, superhuman Teachers. For the first Teachers of the human race on Earth were not themselves human; they were Beings standing higher in the scale of evolution than man, and in the Mysteries they appeared not in physical but in ether bodies — which, since then, they have for the most part laid aside, for they are now in astral bodies. These primeval Teachers left the Earth and passed out into the Cosmos — to the Moon.

The heavenly body we know as the Moon is therefore the colony, out in the Cosmos, of the primeval Teachers of mankind. There they have their dwelling, in the Moon. To crude perception the outer aspect of the Moon reflects merely the light of the Sun. But for a finer perception the Moon mirrors a vast number of cosmic forces. And what is reflected thence to the Earth from the forces of the Cosmos is connected with all that is sub-human in man — with what man has to-day in common with animal nature. We find, therefore, in the Moon these high Spiritual Beings who were once the primeval Teachers of mankind, and at the same time, together with them, the animal forces of man's nature.

[1 - Moral physiognomy – only sees souls of similar moral qualities]

This is the first region the human being enters when he has passed through the gate of death; here his first experiences are undergone. Try to form a living picture of how, with his moral — or immoral — physiognomy, a human being comes into the region of the physical and spiritual radiations of the Moon and how, to begin with, he sees himself and other human beings each with his physiognomy. He does not see with physical eyes; he becomes aware of the others through a kind of “feeling” perception — almost a kind of touching, but touching from a distance.

Let me try to describe it to you in the following way. A human being comes into the vicinity of another being in this region. He has his physiognomy which is mobile in itself — as it were, soft and pliable. He draws near to the other being, and at once tries to give himself a physiognomy similar to that revealed by the other being. But if a man who was an out-and- out villain in earthly life and has now passed through the gate of death were to attempt to do this in the proximity of one who has been a saintly man, in order that he might perceive and feel what the saintly man is in his physiognomy, he would not find it possible. Despite all his efforts he would continue to give himself the physiognomy of a villain. He can do no otherwise.

You will realise from this that for a certain period of time after death a man is only capable of seeing other human beings who in respect of their moral qualities were of like nature with himself in Earthly life. This is the first impression that is experienced by the human being, the first of many powerful impressions that are at the same time like so many judgements passed upon him. For man really feels the experience as a dispensation of strict justice. He stands there under the constant impression: As those others are, so are you yourself; you can move only among human beings who are like yourself! It is so, indeed. Man does not see those who are different from himself; to begin with, he simply cannot see them.

[2 - Ahrimanic beings seem to be resemblant]

Now the particular forces which are contained in this Moon environment do not permit of the Angels drawing near to man. The Angels — in their lovely form — cannot, to begin with, come into the neighbourhood of the human being. For the Moon is the heavenly body of which the Earth has rid herself; she has, as it were, put it out into the Cosmos. It is true that with the Moon have gone also, as we saw, the holy Teachers and Sages; but there are present, in addition, in its vicinity Ahrimanic Beings. Ahrimanic forms are to be seen there.

And so it comes about that when a man sees other human beings in physiognomies that are the reverse of good, and has the impression that he is seeing himself along with them, then he and they seem, to his despair, to resemble the Ahrimanic forms that appear in this region.

The Angels are hidden from his sight because they have forms into which he cannot yet find his way again. He sees other human beings in forms that are all differing expressions of evil, and he notes the resemblance of these to the Ahrimanic forms. This, then, is the second impression which comes to man in the Moon sphere: You yourself resemble the Ahrimanic forms! Once again is a stern judgement passed upon man after death.

[3 - Third experience: Ahrimanic beings speak of primeval teachers of mankind]

The third experience makes an impression which never leaves the human being. It begins with the realisation that in the first region through which he has to pass are the wise and holy primeval Teachers of early humanity. But now he cannot help feeling that a mysterious connection exists between the Ahrimanic beings with whom he comes in contact in the way described, and these primeval Teachers of mankind.


[parenthesis on Ahrimanic beings]

So, too, when people hear about Ahrimanic beings, they cannot understand why these beings have not long ago given up all hope of gaining the victory over the Earth Spirits. Human beings know quite well that the ultimate victory will not be with the Ahrimanic beings. But Ahriman does not know it! He strives unceasingly for victory. And out of this striving for victory there arises a strange and remarkable connection between those Ahrimanic beings who belong chiefly to the Moon sphere and the wise, primeval Teachers of mankind.

Let me put it in this way. The Ahrimanic beings are continually trying, in their sinister way, to flatter and cajole these primeval Teachers, they would so much like to win them over to their side!

For what is it these Ahrimanic beings are trying to achieve?

They would like to hold the Earth fast at a certain point in its development and not allow it to make any further progress. It is Ahriman who is constantly saying: “The evolution of human beings has reached a certain point, and now it must come to a standstill; they must not evolve any further. I have resolved that human beings shall harden at this point and continue their further journey in the Cosmos as hardened, rigidified beings — not as beings involved in a progressive evolution.” This is what is whispered every night into the ears of men by the Ahrimanic beings. And it is what the Ahrimanic beings desire in regard also to the Earth itself; they want to hold it fast at a given point in its evolution.

And now think of the great primeval Teachers of man. It was they who left behind them on Earth what we know as the ancient, primordial Wisdom. This ancient Wisdom has grown dim in the course of the ages and is no longer understood. Once upon a time, in the old Mystery-sanctuaries, it was taught to men; but that could not continue. For if human beings had gone on receiving this Wisdom, they would not have made progress. Above all, they would not have attained to freedom, to free inner spiritual activity; they would not have acquired free will. The wisdom was by its very nature able to speak only to the instincts of men, not to clear, self-conscious deliberation. It was thus for the well-being of humanity that at a certain moment these great Teachers should withdraw. If they had never lived on Earth man would have been without an initial impetus for his evolution. But when they had once given the impetus which enabled him henceforth to continue his evolution independently, they withdrew from the Earth and went to the Colony of the Moon. As long as the primeval Teachers were still upon Earth, the Ahrimanic beings did their utmost to keep them there in order that the instinctive Wisdom should remain as it was. Even today, when a man has passed through the gate of death and come into the Moon sphere, they think they can still do something; and so they try again and again to cajole and persuade these primeval Teachers to approach the dead. They cannot achieve their end, least of all in the case of those human beings who wear a physiognomy of evil. None the less, the Ahrimanic beings continue to draw near to the souls of human beings in the Moon sphere and goad them on by pointing to the great primeval Wisdom and saying: “That was once all there for you!” Human beings who wear features of evil have, therefore, now to pass through a third experience. The Ahrimanic beings speak to them of the primeval Teachers of mankind. But they, with their nature, cannot see these Teachers. They gaze into an empty void.

This experience makes a profound and lasting impression. Once again man feels that a judgement has been passed upon him. For the thought lies heavy on his soul: “Those who gave the human race its first impulse are hidden from me; I cannot see them, I am spurned and rejected.” Powerful and acute is the experience that comes thus to human beings who do not show a physiognomy expressive of the good.


These are the three impressions which must needs come to man when, with a physiognomy of evil, he passes over into the world that lies beyond the gate of death. And it must of course be remembered, that no human being is wholly good; in the very best of men there is, after all, a great deal that is bad. Hence it falls to the lot of a great many human beings to undergo, at any rate in part, the experiences here described. But the more a man is able to assume the physiognomy of the good after death, the more readily will he behold those whom he has through his goodness come to resemble, and the less will he respond to the Ahrimanic beings.


inscribe/weave destiny


intensity of pictures & primeval teachers mankind


leave bad karma behind


intensity of pictures & primeval teachers mankind


Mercury sphere

moral disposition



former rel. w/people



see also: Karma or destiny#1913-02-04-GA144

When the human being leaves his physical body and his ether body, and thus lives only in his astral body, which we may also call the soul body, a complete spatial expansion takes place, one might say: a dilatation of his being into the far reaches of space; this takes place not merely after death, but also in sleep. Every night we really expand over the stellar spaces. After death, we expand slowly and gradually in such a way that we must seek the substance of our soul — for we cannot now say: the substance of our body — in the circumference of the earth, at first far beyond the atmosphere. Farther and farther it expands, until we (though it may sound paradoxical, it comes to that) have expanded the life of our soul over the whole expanse of the sphere which in the end corresponds to the moon's orbit around the earth. We grow so large that the boundary of our being is the orbit of the moon. As long as we thus grow larger, that which we may call the Kamaloka-time prevails. That is the time of inner connection with the preceding life on earth.

Then, however, the expansion goes on. The human being expands in fact out into the world of the stars, and then the time begins when he expands so far that the outer boundary of his being; may be designated as the orbit which, in astronomical terms, is described by Venus, in occult terms by Mercury. Now, the condition of life for man, after he has left the sphere of the moon, depends on the kind of life he led here between birth and death.

[characteristic 1]

When he carries his life into the universe to the sphere of Mercury, then he may live there in such a way that he can easily find contact with people with whom he lived on Earth, with whom his soul was united on earth; or, on the other hand, it may be man's fate to have difficulties in finding such contacts — that is to: say, to be condemned to loneliness in expanding his life thus into the sphere of Mercury. And it depends on the way in which he has led his life on earth whether he feels that he is destined to loneliness, or, if one may use the term, to sociability.

  • A person who in life has not cared to awaken in his soul moral feelings a moral way of thinking, a moral mood, benevolence, sympathy — a person who has developed this only to a small extent — feels doomed to loneliness after death when he expands to the sphere of Mercury. And it is difficult for him to find other souls with whom he is united.
  • A person who has developed much sympathy, a moral way of thinking, will live companionably with other souls as he expands to the sphere of Mercury.

Thus it is given into our hands to arrange our life between death and a new birth. The sphere of Mercury — in occult terms — is therefore the sphere in which our moral qualities are expressed.

[characteristic 2]

It also is the sphere in which what we have developed in the way of moral qualities becomes effective in still another manner.

Another aspect to be considered is the fact that precisely during this passage through the sphere of Mercury we have the after-effect of having been in the life between birth and death a conscientious human being, or one lacking conscientiousness.

You see, everything that happens in the world here in physical life receives its direction or its causation from the spiritual world. We have several times considered the natural death from old age, which has to occur for man because it is what really must happen to him in order that life may take its right course from incarnation to incarnation. But as we know, there is not merely this death from old age, well founded in evolution; there is also a death which befalls the human being in the flower of youth, even in childhood. There are in the world manifold illnesses, epidemics, and so forth playing a part in human life. And they are not merely the effect of physical causes, but they are ordained, directed from the spiritual world.

And this actually comes from the region of Venus, that belt around the Earth which, however, in occult parlance we call the sphere of Mercury. That is, if we take the radius from earth to Venus and draw a circle — quite without considering astronomical relations — that, then, is the sphere of Mercury (we mean a circle, not around the sun, but, around the earth); and in this belt, in the space occupied by this plane, there lie the forces by which illnesses and death are directed on Earth: death in so far as it does not occur as natural death from old age, but in an irregular manner. Certain spiritual beings are operative there, those beings whom occultism designates as the spirits of illness and death.

[see also Schema FMC00.297]

[case 1 - lack of moral responsibility, conscience -> servants of evil spirits of illness and death]

An individual who (in occult parlance) enters the realm of Mercury after having spent his life on Earth as a person without a conscience, condemns himself to become a servant of these — as we may well call them — evil spirits of illness and death, while he is going through this realm. Indeed, we do not have a conception, an impression, of what is meant by a “lack of conscience” until we know this fact. Lack of conscience sentences a human being to bear the yoke of these evil spirits in the realm of Mercury for a time between death and a new birth. And when those forces are developed which are sent from the surrounding realm to the Earth so that epidemics, illnesses, take place, so that death at the wrong time takes place, then these souls “without conscience” must cooperate as servants of the spirits of illness and death who send these forces into our physical world.

[case 2 - lovers of ease and indolence/laziness -> servants of Ahrimanic spirits of opposition and 'malice of things']

Something else happens when a trait which is very widespread on earth has its after-effect all the way up to this sphere: laziness. Our life is really conditioned by laziness. Innumerable things would be done differently by men if they were not lazy. Also by laziness, the human being sentences himself to become for a time in the sphere which has just been discussed the servant of those powers which are subordinate to Ahriman, and which we may designate as the powers of hindrance — that is to say, of those spirits who hinder work on Earth. Servants of the spirits of hindrance we become for a definite period of time, more or less prolonged, through everything we have poured into our soul by laziness. In this way, we get a conception as to how those forces which we have developed in our soul during our physical life have their effect in that life between death and a new birth.




life in spiritual proper beginning

beloved <-> affinities




Thus we grow farther out into cosmic space, into the whole planetary system, though first into what the occultist calls the Mercury sphere. That is to say, after the kamaloca period we become Mercury dwellers. We truly feel that we are inhabiting cosmic space. Just as during our physical existence we feel ourselves to be earth dwellers, so then we feel ourselves to be Mercury dwellers. I cannot describe the details now, but the following conscious experience is present. We are not now enclosed in such a small fraction of space as during our earthly existence but the wide sphere bounded by the orbit of Mercury is within our being. How we live through this period also depends upon how we have prepared ourselves on earth — on the forces we have imbibed on Earth in order to grow into the right or wrong relationship to the Mercury sphere.

In order to understand these facts we can compare two or more people by means of occult research but we will take two.

[case 1 - lack of moral responsibility, conscience -> servants of evil spirits of illness and death]

For instance, let us consider a man who passed through the gate of death with an immoral attitude and one who passed through the gate of death with a moral attitude of soul. A considerable difference is perceptible and it becomes apparent when we consider the relationship of one person to another after death. For the man with a moral attitude of soul, the pictures are present, enveloping the soul and he can have a certain degree of communion everywhere with other human beings. This is due to his moral attitude. A man with an immoral attitude of soul becomes a kind of hermit in the spiritual world. For example, he knows that another human being is also in the spiritual world. He knows that he is together with him but he is unable to emerge from the prison of his cloud of Imaginations and approach him. Morality makes us into social beings in the spiritual world, into beings who can have contact with others. Lack of morality makes us into hermits in the spiritual world and transports us into solitude. This is an important causal connection between death and rebirth.


As we expand farther we enter a second realm that is called the Mercury sphere in occultism. We shall not represent it diagrammatically, but the Mercury sphere is larger than the Moon sphere. We enter this sphere after death in the most varied ways. It can be accurately investigated by means of spiritual science. A person who in life had an immoral or limited moral disposition lives into the Mercury sphere in a completely different way from one who was morally inclined. In the Mercury sphere the former is unable to find those people who die[d] at the same time, shortly before or after he did, and who are in the spiritual world. He so enters into the spiritual world that he is unable to find the loved ones with whom he longs to be together. People who lack a moral disposition of soul on earth become hermits in the Mercury sphere. The morally inclined person, however, becomes what one might call a sociable being. There he will find above all the people with whom he had a close inner connection on earth. This determines whether one is together with someone. It depends not on spatial relations, for we all fill the same space, but on our soul inclinations. We become hermits when we bring an unmoral disposition with us, and sociable beings, if we possess a moral inclination.

We encounter other difficulties in connection with sociability in the Moon sphere during kamaloca but by and large whether a man becomes a hermit or a sociable being there also depends on the disposition of his soul. A thorough-going egoist on earth, one who only indulged his urges and passions, will not easily find in the Moon sphere the people with whom he was connected on earth. A man who has loved passionately, however, even if it were only physically, will nevertheless not find himself completely alone, but will find other individuals with whom he was connected. In both these spheres it is generally not possible to find human beings apart from those with whom one has been connected on earth. Others remain unknown to us. The condition for meeting other people is that we must have been with them on earth. Whether or not we find ourselves with them depends on the moral factor. Although they lead to a connection with those we have known on earth, even moral strivings will not carry us much farther beyond this realm. Relationships to the people we meet after death are characterized by the fact that they cannot be altered.

We should picture it as follows. During life on earth we always have the possibility of changing a relationship with a fellow man. Let us suppose that over a period of time we have not loved someone as he deserved. The moment we become aware of this we can love him rightly, if we have the strength. We lack this possibility after death. Then when we encounter a person we perceive far more clearly than on earth whether we have loved him too little or unfairly, but we can do nothing to change it. It has to remain as it is. Life connections bear the peculiar quality of a certain constancy. Because they are of a lasting nature, an impulse is formed in the soul by means of which order is brought into karma. If we have loved a person insufficiently over a period of fifteen years, we shall become aware of it after death. It is during our experience of this that we bring about the impulse to act differently in our next incarnation on earth. We thereby create the impulse and the will for karmic compensation. That is the technique of karma.

Above all, we should be clear about one thing. During the early phases of life after death, namely during the Moon and Mercury periods (and also during subsequent periods that will shortly be described), we dwell in the spiritual world in such a way that our spiritual life depends on how we lived on earth in the physical world.


Spiritual investigation observes a considerable difference after death between souls who have cultivated moral feelings and inclinations on earth and those who have failed to do so. A person who has not developed moral feelings on earth becomes a hermit after death. He will be unable to find his way both to other human beings and to the higher hierarchies. Consciousness is not extinguished then, and what awaits man is a sense of utter loneliness. From a certain period called the Mercury period onward man gains the possibility of living together with other beings by virtue of his moral life. We may say therefore that the way a person lives on earth determines his existence in the Mercury sphere, determines whether he experiences a dreadful hermit-like existence or establishes contact with other human souls or the beings of the higher hierarchies.


[Mercury sphere – comparison with coverage in book Theosophy]

You will find that all the experiences in these regions correspond exactly with the passage of the expanding soul into the region called the Mercury sphere, an expansion through the Moon sphere into the Mercury sphere.

On approaching the Mercury sphere, however, the soul encounters conditions described in the book Theosophy as a kind of spiritual region of the Soul-World. Read the description of the passage of the soul through this region and you will see from what is said about the kind of experiences undergone there that what is generally called the unpleasant element of Kamaloka already comes to an end in the region of Soul-Light. This region of Soul-Light corresponds with what I have said about the Mercury sphere.

If you compare what was said about the life of the soul when it has expanded to the Mercury sphere with what is contained in the book Theosophy about the region of Soul-Light, you will realise that endeavours were made to describe this region

  • first from the aspect of inner influences of the soul and

then from the aspect of the great macrocosmic conditions through which the soul passes.


The next sphere into which the human being passes is that of Mercury. By this time — and often at the cost of great suffering — the human being has been able so far to adjust his physiognomy to the forces of the super-sensible world that he has laid aside the physiognomy of evil and has gradually come to resemble the forms of the Angels, Archangels and Archai. The process is in many cases slow, but eventually man enters the sphere of Mercury, the dwelling-place of the beings of the Third Hierarchy, and has to live there among them and undergo what I have already described. This is the sphere in which he gradually unfolds understanding of what, previously, was more or less blank perception — although it exercised a potent influence upon the domain of his will. In the Mercury-sphere understanding for all that has been perceived begins to dawn within man. In the present age human life is such that those who investigate these matters with Imaginative perception have tragic experiences. For the state in which the souls of the dead find themselves in this Mercury sphere depends to a great extent upon whether, here on Earth, they were materialists and rejected in thought and deed everything of a super-sensible nature, or whether they had understanding for the super-sensible. A man who in earthly life rejected all that transcends the material, confronts the Beings in the Mercury sphere with comparatively little understanding.

Venus sphere

religious, social




In the next sphere, which we will call the Venus sphere — in occultism it is always so named — a Man's contact with it is mainly dependent upon a religious attitude of soul.

  • Contact with the beings of this sphere can be established by individuals who during their life on Earth came to realise that everything transitory in physical things and in Man himself is after all related in some way to immortality; thus they had a feeling that the attitude of soul in every individual should incline to divine-spiritual reality.
  • On the other hand, anyone who is a materialist and cannot direct his soul to the eternal, the divine, the Immortal, is condemned in the Venus sphere to be imprisoned within his own being, in isolation.

Particularly in connection with this sphere we can learn from occult investigation how in our astral body during life on Earth we create the conditions of existence as they will be in the Venus sphere. On the Earth we must already develop understanding of and inclination for what we hope to contact and experience in that sphere.

Let us consider for a moment the fact that human beings living on the Earth during entirely different epochs — as was both inevitable and right — were connected with divine-spiritual life through the various religions and prevailing conceptions of the world. The only way in which human evolution could progress was that out of the one source — for example the religious life — at different times and for very different peoples, according to their natural traits and climatic and other conditions of existence, the varying religious principles were imparted by those destined for this mission. These religious principles stem from one source but are graduated according to the conditions prevailing among particular peoples.

Humanity today is still divided into groups determined by their religious tenets and views of the world. But it is through what is thereby formed in our souls that we prepare our understanding of and possibility of contacts in the Venus sphere. The religions of the Hindu, of the Chinese, of the Mohammedan, of the Christian, prepare the soul in such a way that in the Venus sphere it will understand and be attracted to those individuals whose souls have been moulded by the same religious tenets.

Occult investigation shows clearly that whereas nowadays men on Earth are divided by race, descent and so forth, and can be distinguished by these factors — although this will change in the future and has already begun to do so — in the Venus sphere in which we live together with other human beings there are no such divisions. The only division there depends upon their religious principles and conceptions of the world while they were on the Earth. It is true that to some extent a classification according to race is possible because this classification on Earth — even according to religion — is still, in a certain respect, a matter of racial relationships. All the same, it is not the element of race that is decisive, but what the soul experiences through its adherence to the principles of a particular religion.


This is true also of the further course of events.

At a later period, after having passed through the Mercury sphere, which in the occult we call the Venus sphere, we feel ourselves as Venus dwellers. There between Mercury and Venus, where our cloud of visions is irradiated from without, the Beings of the higher hierarchies are able to approach the human being. Now again it depends on whether we have prepared ourselves in the right manner to be received as social spirits into the ranks of the hierarchies and to have communion with them, or whether we are compelled to pass them by as hermits. Whether we are social or lonely spirits depends upon still another factor.

Whereas in the previous sphere was can be sociable only if this has been prepared on earth as a result of morality, in the Venus sphere the power that leads us into community, into a kind of social life, is due to our religious attitude on earth. We most certainly condemn ourselves to become hermits in the Venus sphere if we have failed to develop religious feelings during earthly life, feelings of union with the Infinite, with the Divine. Occult investigation observes that as a result of an atheistic tendency in the soul, of rejecting the connection of our finite with our infinite nature, the human being locks himself up within his own prison. It is a fact that the adherents of the Monistic Union, with its creed that does not promote a truly religious attitude, are preparing themselves for a condition in which they will no longer we able to form any Monistic Union, but will be relegated each to his own separate prison!

This is not meant to be a principle on which to base judgments. It is a fact that presents itself to occult observation as the consequence of a religious or irreligious attitude of soul during earthly life. Many different religions have been established on the earth in the course of evolution, all of them emanating essentially from a common source. Their founders have had to reckon with the temperament of the different peoples, with the climate and with other factors to which the religions had to be adjusted. It is therefore in the nature of things that souls did not come into this Venus sphere with a common religious consciousness, but with one born of their particular creed.

Definite feelings for the spiritual that are colored by this or that religious creed bring it about that in the Venus sphere a man has community only with those of like feelings who shared the same creed during earthly life. In the Venus sphere individuals are separated according to their particular creeds. On the earth they have hitherto been divided into races according to external characteristics. Although the configuration of groups in the Venus sphere corresponds in general to the groupings of people here on earth because racial connections are related to religious creeds, the groupings do not quite correspond because there they are brought together according to their understanding of a particular creed. As a result of experience connected with a particular creed, souls enclose themselves within certain boundaries.

In the Mercury sphere a man has, above all, understanding for those with whom he was connected on earth. If he had a moral attitude of soul, he will have real intercourse in the Mercury sphere with those to whom he was related during his earthly life. In the Venus sphere he is taken up into one of the great religious communities to which he belonged during his earthly existence by virtue of his constitution of soul.


The next sphere after death is the so-called Venus sphere In this sphere we become hermits if on earth we have had an irreligious disposition. We become sociable spirits if we bring a religious inclination with us. Inasmuch as in the physical world we are able to feel our devotion to the Holy Spirit, so in the Venus sphere shall we find all those of a like inclination towards the divine spiritual. Men are grouped according to religious and philosophic trends in the Venus sphere. On earth it is so that both religious striving and religious experience still play a dominant part. In the Venus sphere the grouping is purely according to religious confession and philosophic outlook. Those who share the same world-conception are together in large, powerful communities in the Venus sphere. They are not hermits. Only those are hermits who have not been able to develop any religious feeling and experience. For instance, the monists, the materialists of our age, will not be sociable, but lonely beings. Each one will be as if encaged in the Venus sphere. There can be no question of a Monistic Union because by virtue of the monistic conception each member is condemned to loneliness. The fact that each is locked in his cage has not been thought out. It is mentioned so that souls may be brought to an awareness of reality as compared to the fanciful theories of monism that have been elaborated on earth. In general we can say that we come together with those of the same world-conception, of the same faith as ourselves. Other confessions are hard to understand in the Venus sphere.


The next sphere to which the soul expands is designated in occultism as the sphere of Venus. [astronomically: sphere of Mercury.] We prepare ourselves for it by religious qualities, a religious attitude. A human being who has developed in the time between birth and death an attitude which causes his soul to look toward the spiritual primordial powers and primordial forces of the world — such a person is able to be a social being in the sphere of Venus, so that he lives together with other human beings with whom his soul has established relationship on earth. But also other spirits of the Higher Hierarchies enter from then on into the human sphere, and man lives there with spirits of the Higher Hierarchies if he has developed a religious attitude, religious sentiments, religious feelings. On the other hand, if here on earth he has not brought his soul into contact with religious impulses, he sentences himself to loneliness, to seclusion, to tormenting loneliness. If he has been an atheist here on earth, then he will be a completely isolated individual after reaching the sphere with which we are concerned here. And it must be said that those people who today foster an irreligious attitude condemn themselves to complete loneliness. Those, for instance, who unite in the Monist Society, inhibit their inner freedom of movement, and because they have found themselves united here under that “flag,” they sentence themselves to sit each in his own cage, each separate from the other.


This is followed by another period during which man must be differently prepared if he does not again condemn himself to loneliness. Loneliness comes to pass if he has not developed any religious feelings here on earth. This period is called the Venus period. There a person who has failed to develop religious feelings experiences himself as blind and dead in relation to everything that surrounds him.


[Venus sphere – comparison with coverage in book Theosophy]

If you read what is said in Theosophy about the ‘Active Soul-Force’, you will realise that the inner experiences undergone in that region are in keeping with what is decisive during the passage through the Venus sphere. It has been said that if the soul is to pass in the right way through the Venus sphere it must have developed certain religious impulses during earthly life. In order to progress through the Venus sphere with companionship and not in compulsory isolation, the soul must be imbued with certain religious concepts.

Compare what was said about this with the description given in the book Theosophy of the region of Active Soul-Force and you will find that they agree, that

  • in one case the inner aspect of the conditions was described,
  • in the other, the outer aspect.

It is the same when he comes to the next sphere, where he lives among Beings who also belong to the Hierarchy of Angels, Archangels and Archai but have reached a somewhat higher stage of development. If a man was a rank materialist in earthly life, he has no understanding at all of the Beings in the Venus sphere.

For here the forces of cosmic love pour down upon him. If he has not acquired on Earth the capacity of love, the region he now enters is strange and foreign to him in the highest degree.

The forces of cosmic love flood his being in the Venus sphere if, on Earth, he possessed the faculty of love; but if, on Earth, he consciously or unconsciously harboured hatred in his breast, these forces of the Venus sphere are changed within him into forces of wrath. This is the mystery of man's sojourn in the Venus sphere.

[editor: Wrath is great anger that expresses itself in a desire to punish someone]

For those who bring with them from Earth considerable remains of forces of hatred, it is as though metamorphosed forces of love — forces, that is, of wrath and fury — were to rise up within them from out of their will. Man sees himself in a manifestation that impels him to say: It must all be subdued, it must be chastened and brought into harmony with the Cosmos. It is ultimately always the will that receives, shall I say, special care and nurture in the Venus sphere — the will, which in earthly man has its seat in the limb and metabolic system in the lower part of his organism, that is to say, in the part of man that becomes after death “physiognomy.” It is therefore the will that comes to expression in this physiognomy.

Transition from soul to spirit realm


[Passage from soul-world to spirit-world]

A few days ago I was telling you of how the Moon- and Saturn-forces which bring man down into the earthly realm, seeking ever and again to hold him fast on Earth, Saturn on the other hand seeks to bear him out into the universe of stars. Yet we must understand this truly, for when man goes into the universe of stars between death and new birth, he is no longer seeing the physical reflection of the stars; he is living now with the beings, to whom the several stars belong.

When after death we have passed the sphere of Saturn, we become ripe to experience the pure spiritual world. In the book “Theosophy” this moment is described as the passage from the soul-world into spirit-land.

Trammeled however as he is by the memory of his past earthly life, Man is unable to achieve the crossing by himself. He needs a helper in the spiritual world, — and of this too, you will recall, I was telling in recent lectures.

[Before Golgotha]

In the age before the Mystery of Golgotha, the Initiates in the Mysteries could say to their disciples: If you have duly sent your religious offerings up into the spiritual world, you will be able to find the sublime Being of the Sun who goes with you from the time when you with yourself take leave of the Sun-sphere. He in His spiritual Being will accompany you to the other side, where, so to speak, the Sun shines spiritually outward into cosmic space, even as He himself shines physically down on to the Earth. The sublime Being of the Sun will then go with you; He will escort you to the Saturn sphere and farther out from thence into the sphere of stars. The spiritual Sun will, as it were, be shining for you; thus and thus only will you win your passage from the soul-world into spirit-land.

[After Golgotha]

Now through the Mystery of Golgotha it has grown different. The Being of the Sun came down to Earth, took on a body in the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. By turning now in heart and mind and feeling to the Christ and to the Mystery of Golgotha, already here upon the Earth, Man receives power that will enable him to get beyond the spheres of Sun and Saturn, so to gain entry into spirit-land, or in other words, into the world of Stars.

Then comes the state in which Man undergoes his further life between death and new birth. If I am now to tell you more about this state, in the way man of present time - after the Mystery of Golgotha - can undergo it by virtue of the power of Christ which he has received, I must insert the following.

In the first place I must point out what it really means, when we are out yonder in the world of stars, in spirit-land, for us to have the “memory” of our earthly life. The following will help you understand it.


Now, after finishing our reverse course and arriving again at the starting-point, we must find the transition to which I alluded in my Theosophy as the transition from the soul world into the spirit realm. This is connected with the necessity of leaving the moon sphere and entering the sun sphere of the cosmos. We become gradually acquainted with the all-encompassing entities dwelling, in the form of spirit and soul, within the sun sphere. This we must enter.

In the next few days, I shall discuss to what degree the Christ plays a leading role in helping the human being to make this transition from the moon sphere to the sun sphere. (This role is different after the Mystery of Golgotha from the role He played before the Mystery of Golgotha.)

Today we shall describe the passage through this world in a more objective way.

What ensues at this point is the necessity of depositing in the moon sphere all that was woven for us, as it were, out of our moral qualities. This represents something like a small package, which we must deposit in the moon sphere in order that we may enter, as purely spiritual beings, into the pure sun sphere. Then we see the sun in its real aspect: not from the side turned towards earth but from the reverse side, where it is completely filled with spiritual entities; where we can fully see that it is a spiritual realm.

It is here that we give as nourishment to the universe everything that does not belong to our moral qualities, but which has been granted to us by the gods in the form of earthly experiences. We give to the universe whatever it can use for maintaining the world's course. These things are actually true. If I compared the universe to a machine — you know that I do this merely in a pictorial sense, for I am certainly not inclined to designate the universe a machine — then everything brought by us into the sun sphere after depositing our small package in the moon sphere would be something like fuel, apportioned by us to the cosmos as fuel is apportioned to a machine.

Sun sphere







1922-11-19-GA218 1923-08-28-GA227


We spend certain periods after each death within these spheres; then our being expands and we pass on from the Venus sphere to the Sun sphere. In very truth we become, as souls, Sun dwellers between death and the new birth. Something more than was necessary in the Venus sphere is required for the Sun sphere. If we are to fare well in the Sun sphere between death and the new birth, it is essential to be able to understand not merely one particular group of human beings but to understand and find points of contact with all human souls. In the Sun sphere we feel isolated, like hermits, if the prejudices of one particular faith render us incapable of understanding a human being whose soul has been filled with the principles of a different faith. An individual who on the Earth regarded one particular religion only as valuable is incapable in the Sun sphere of understanding adherents of other religions. But the consequences of this lack of understanding are not the same as they are on Earth. On the Earth men may live side by side without any inner understanding of each other and then separate into different faiths and systems of thought. In the Sun sphere, however, since we interpenetrate one another, we are together and yet at the same time separated in our inner being; and in that sphere every separation and every lack of understanding are at once sources of terrible suffering. Every contact with an adherent of a different faith becomes a reproach which weighs upon us unceasingly and which we cannot escape because on Earth we did not educate ourselves in this respect.

Taking the life between death and the new birth as a starting-point, what is now to be said will in a certain sense be easier to understand if reference is made to Initiation. What the Initiate experiences in the spiritual worlds is in a certain respect closely akin to experiences undergone in the life between death and rebirth. The Initiate has to make his way into the same spheres, and were he to maintain the prejudices resulting from a biased, one-sided view of the world, he would undergo similar suffering in the Sun sphere. It is therefore essential that Initiation should be preceded by thorough understanding of every religious faith spread over the Earth, also understanding of what is taking place in every individual soul regardless of the creed or system of thought to which it adheres. Otherwise, whatever has not been met with understanding becomes a source of suffering, as if towering mountains were threatening to crash down upon one, as if explosions were discharging their whole force upon one. Whatever lack of understanding due to one's own narrow prejudices has been shown to human beings on Earth, has this effect in the spiritual worlds.

It was not always so. In pre-Christian times the process of evolution did not require men unconditionally to acquire this understanding of every human soul. Humanity was obliged to pass through the phase of a one-sided attitude. But those who were trained for some kind of leadership in the world were obliged to acquire, either consciously or less consciously, an understanding for every human being without distinction. Even when some individual was to be the leader of a particular people he would be required to develop a measure of understanding for every human soul. This is indicated magnificently in the Old Testament in the passage describing the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High. Those who understand this passage know that Abraham, who was destined to become the leader of his people, underwent an Initiation at this time — even if not in full consciousness as is the case in later Initiations. Abraham's Initiation was connected with realisation of the Divine element that can flow into all human souls. The passage which tells of the meeting of Abraham with Melchizedek contains a deep secret connected with the evolution of humanity. But men had gradually to be prepared to become more and more qualified for a fruitful existence in the Sun sphere.


Our life in the Sun sphere after death depends upon what relationship we have established with the Mystery of Golgotha. The contact with all human souls that can be experienced in the Sun sphere is possible only if a relationship with the Mystery of Golgotha has been established in the way described. It is a relationship which ensures freedom from any still imperfect form of Christianity as practised in this or that sect. If we have no such relationship with the Mystery of Golgotha we condemn ourselves to becoming solitary individuals in the Sun sphere, unable to make contact with other human souls. There is a certain utterance which retains its power even in the Sun sphere.

When in the Sun sphere we encounter another human soul we can become companions and not be thrust away from that soul, if these words have been preserved in our inner being: “When two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” In the Sun sphere all human souls can be united with one another in a true recognition of Christ. And this union is of tremendous significance.

For in the Sun sphere a man must make a decision; he must acquire a certain understanding. And what this means can best be explained by referring to an extraordinarily important fact which every human soul would be able to realise but does not always do so. One of the most beautiful sayings in the New Testament occurs when Christ Jesus is endeavouring to make men conscious of the divine-spiritual core of being within them, of the truth that God is present as the divine spark in every human soul, that every human being has divinity within him. Christ Jesus emphasises this, declaring with all power and intensity: “Ye are Gods!” The emphasis laid upon the words shows that He recognised this as a rightful claim when a man applies its implications to himself. But this utterance was also made by another Being. The Old Testament tells us in symbolic words at what point in evolution it was made. At the very beginning of man's evolution, Lucifer proclaimed: “Ye shall be as Gods!” This is something that must be noticed. A saying in identical terms is uttered by two Beings: by Lucifer and by Christ! “Ye shall be as Gods.” What does the Bible imply by giving emphasis to these two utterances? It implies that from Lucifer this utterance leads to a curse, from Christ to the highest blessing. Is there not a wonderful mystery here? The words hurled into humanity by Lucifer, the Tempter — when uttered by Christ to men are supreme wisdom. That what is really important is not the content of an utterance but from whom it comes — this fact is inscribed in letters of power into the biblical record. From an instance such as this let us feel that it behoves us to understand things in adequate depth and that we can learn a very great deal from what may lie openly before us.

It is in the Sun sphere between death and the new birth that again and again we hear the words spoken to our soul with all their force: Thou art a God, be as a God! We know with all certainty when we arrive in the Sun sphere that Lucifer meets us again and impresses the meaning of this utterance forcibly upon us. From then onwards we can understand Lucifer very well, but Christ only if on Earth we have prepared ourselves to understand Him. Christ's utterance will have no meaning for us in the Sun sphere if by our relationship on Earth to the mystery of Golgotha we have not gained some understanding of it. Trivial as the following words may be, let me say this: In the Sun sphere we find two thrones. From the throne of Lucifer — which is always occupied — there sound the words of temptation, asserting our divinity. The second throne seems to us — or rather to many human beings — to be still empty, for on this other throne in the Sun sphere between death and the new birth, we have to discover what can be called the Akashic picture of Christ. If we can find the Akashic picture of Christ it will be for us a blessing — this will become evident in later lectures. But it has become possible to find that picture only because Christ came down from the Sun and has united Himself with the Earth and because we have been able to open our eyes of spirit here on Earth through understanding in some measure the Mystery of Golgotha. This will ensure that the throne of Christ in the Sun sphere does not appear empty to us but that the deeds He performed while His dwelling-place was still the Sun sphere become visible. As I said, I have to use trivial words in speaking of these two thrones; this sublime fact can only be spoken of figuratively. But anyone who acquires more and more understanding will realise that words coined on Earth are inadequate and that one is obliged to resort to imagery in order to be intelligible.

Now we shall understand and find support for what we need in the Sun sphere only if on the Earth we have acquired something that plays not only into the astral forces but into the etheric forces as well. You will know from what I have previously said that the religions influence the etheric forces and the etheric body of man. A considerable spiritual heirloom is available for all of us inasmuch as forces from the Sun sphere are instilled into us if we have acquired understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. For it is from the Sun sphere that we must draw the forces necessary for the renewal of our etheric body for the next incarnation; whereas the forces necessary for our astral body in the next incarnation must be drawn from the other planetary spheres.

Let nobody believe that what I have been saying is unconnected with the whole course of evolution. I have told you that already in pre-Christian times a leader of humanity such as Abraham was able at his meeting with Melchizedek (or Malkezadek) to acquire the forces needed for the Sun sphere. I am making no intolerant statement implying that man can acquire the forces necessary for establishing a right relationship to the beings of the Sun sphere through orthodox Christianity alone. I am stating a fact of evolution; another fact is that the time when it was still possible, as in ancient days, to behold the Akashic picture of Christ as the result of different means is drawing nearer and nearer to a close as evolution proceeds. Abraham's spiritual eyes were fully open to the Akashic picture of Christ in the Sun sphere. You must not argue that the Mystery of Golgotha had not then taken place and that Christ was still in the Sun sphere; for during that period Christ was united with other planetary spheres. It is indeed a fact that at that time and even down to our own epoch, human beings were able to perceive what could be perceived in those spheres. And if we go still further back to those primeval ages when the Holy Rishis were the first Teachers of the people of ancient India, those Teachers certainly had knowledge of Christ who at that time was still in the Sun sphere, and they imparted this knowledge and understanding to their followers, although of course not using the later nomenclature. Although in those ancient times the Mystery of Golgotha was not yet within their ken, men were able, by drawing intimate truths from the depths of their being, to acquire from the Sun sphere what was needed for the renewal of their etheric bodies. But these possibilities ceased as evolution proceeded and this was necessary because new forces must perpetually be instilled into humanity.

What has been said is meant to indicate a fact of evolution. We are moving towards a future when it will be less and less possible for men during the period between death and the new birth to live through their existence in the Sun sphere in the right way if they alienate themselves from the Christ Event. True it is that we must look for the Christ-like quality in each soul. If we are to understand the root of Christianity we must ask ourselves in the case of everyone we meet; how much in his nature is Christ-like? But it is also true that a man can sever himself from Christianity if he fails to become conscious of what it is in reality. And when we remind ourselves again of St. Paul's words, that Christ died not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles, we must also add that if in the course of further progress men were more and more to deny the reality of the Mystery of Golgotha they would prevent what was done for their sake from reaching them. The Mystery of Golgotha was a deed of blessing for all mankind. Every human being is free to allow that event to influence him or not; but the effect of the influence will in future depend more and more upon the extent to which he is able to draw from the Sun sphere the forces required to ensure that his etheric body shall be rightly formed in his next incarnation. The immeasurable consequences of this for the whole future of the human race on Earth will be considered in the forthcoming lectures.

Thus Christianity, admittedly little understood, yet always connected with the Mystery of Golgotha, is the first preparation if humanity is to regain the relationship to the Sun sphere. A second impulse would be the genuine anthroposophical understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. After a human being has adjusted himself to existence in the Sun sphere his life expands further outwards, into the Mars sphere, for example. What is essential is that he not only establishes the right relationship to the forces of the Sun sphere but maintains this relationship when his life expands into the Mars sphere. In order that his consciousness shall not become dim, shall not fade away altogether after the Sun sphere but that he can carry it over into the Mars sphere, it is necessary in the present cycle of human evolution that spiritual understanding of the gist of our religions and conceptions of the world shall take root in the souls of men. Hence the endeavours to understand the essence of religions and systems of thought. Spiritual-scientific understanding will eventually be replaced by another, quite different understanding of which men today cannot even dream. For certain as it is that a truth is right in an epoch possessed of a genuine sense of truth, it is also a fact that continually new impulses will make their way into the evolution of humanity. True indeed it is that what Anthroposophy has to give is right for a particular epoch, and humanity, having assimilated Anthroposophy, may bear it into later times as an inner impulse and through these forces also acquire the forces of the later epoch.

after Sun sphere

Lucifer guide


[Mars, Jupiter, Saturn .. and except goes straight back to descent too]

Now we proceed to other spheres that the occultists terms the spheres of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Here Lucifer is our guide and we enter into a realm that bestows new forces upon us. Just as here we have the earth below us, so there in the cosmos we have the Sun below us. We grow into the divine-spiritual world, and as we do so we must hold fast in memory what we have brought with us of the Christ impulse. We can only acquire this on earth and the more deeply we have done so, the farther we can carry it into the cosmos. Now Lucifer draws near to us. He leads us out into a realm we must cross in order to be prepared for a new incarnation. There is one thing we cannot dispense with unless Lucifer is to become a threat to us, and that is the understanding of the Christ impulse, of what we have heard about Christ during our life on earth. Lucifer approaches us out of his own accord during the period between birth and death, but Christ must be received during earthly life.

We then grow into the other spheres beyond the Sun. We become ever larger, so to speak. Below us we have the Sun and above, the mighty, vast expanse of the starry heavens. We grow into the great cosmic realm up to a certain boundary, and as we grow outward cosmic forces work upon us from all directions. We receive forces from the mighty world of the stars into our widespread being.

We reach a boundary, then we begin to contract and enter again into the realms through which we have traveled previously. We go through the Sun, Venus, Mercury and Moon spheres until we come again into the neighborhood of the earth and everything that has been carried out in the cosmic expanse has concentrated itself again in an embryo borne by an earthly mother.

This is the mystery of man's nature between death and a new birth. After he has gone through the gate of death he expands ever more from the small space of the earth to the realms of Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

We have then grown into cosmic space, like giant spheres. After we as souls have received the forces of the universe, of the stars, we contract again and carry the forces of the starry world within us. This explains out of spiritual science how in the concentrated brain structure an imprint of the total starry heavens may be found. In fact, our brain does contain an important secret.

We have yet another mystery. Man has gathered himself together, incarnated in a physical body to which he comes by way of his parents. He has journeyed so far during his expansion in cosmic space that he has recorded his particular characteristics there. As we gaze from the earth upward to the heavens, there are not only stars but also our characteristics from previous incarnations. If, for instance, we were ambitious in previous earth lives, then this ambition is recorded in the starry world. It is recorded in the Akasha Chronicle, and when you are here on the earth at a particular spot, this ambition comes to you with the corresponding planet in a certain position and makes its influence felt.

That accounts for the fact that astrologers do not merely consider the stars and their motions but will tell you that here is your vanity, there is your ambition, your moral failing, your indolence; something you have inscribed into the stars is now working out of the starry worlds onto the earth and determines your destiny. What lives in our souls is recorded in the vastness of space and it works back from space during our life on earth as we journey here between birth and death. If we truly understand them, these matters touch us closely, and they enable us to explain many things.

Mars sphere


Again it may be a shock to speak of what is experienced only subjectively. Yet what appears shocking is perhaps in this case the most readily understandable, namely, that after awhile we become inhabitants of Mars. After we have felt ourselves to be Sun dwellers, having left the earth behind us, we now leave the Sun sphere and experience ourselves in our cosmic reality as inhabitants of Mars. In fact, for this phase it appears as if Christ had given us everything relating to the past and that Lucifer prepares us for our future incarnation. If this Mars sphere is experienced consciously and later on earth can be recalled by means of initiation, we discover that Lucifer bestows on us all experiences not originating in the earthly sphere that we carry within us through the width of the cosmos. Lucifer gives us everything unrelated to the earth. Our former human interest becomes more and more cosmic. Whereas previously we absorbed on earth what the mineral, the plant, the animal, air and water, mountain and valley gave us, we gather from this point onward the experiences that reach us from the cosmos. It is a form of perception that has always been known, but little understood, as the harmony of the spheres. We perceive everything as harmonies rather than the separate sounds of the physical world


talks about the new forces of the scientific enlightenment

Copernicus = Nicholas of Cusa

also Galileo, G. Bruno ..

all Mars forces

NOTE: also in GA068c .. Galileo and G. Bruno are mentioned together, but now also with Goethe (as well as Hegel, Paracelsus)


[Buddha in Mars sphere]

Connected with this is the fact that at the time when public opinion began to assume importance, the Buddha-realm was established in the Mars sphere — as we heard in the lecture at Christmas. Consequently between death and rebirth man passes through this Buddha-realm on Mars. Christian Rosenkreutz had entrusted to Buddha a special mission in the Mars sphere. And what would be futile on Earth, namely the desire to flee from the conditions of terrestrial existence — this is an experience which man must undergo between death and rebirth during his passage through the Mars sphere. Among other things he strips off the incubus of public opinion which takes effect only on Earth. Many, even more overbearing influences will come in the future and it will be more than ever necessary to undergo the experience that is possible for man as a pupil of Buddha in the Mars sphere. Here on Earth, men can now be pupils of the Buddha in the orthodox sense only if they refuse to participate in the progress made by the most advanced people on Earth. But between death and rebirth Buddha unfolds what has developed from the teaching he gave on Earth, which was that man should free himself from the need for further incarnations. This has been developed into a doctrine that is inapplicable to the Earth, where life must progress from incarnation to incarnation. Thus the doctrine preached by Buddha on Earth contained the seed of what man must acquire in the disembodied state of existence. In this advanced form, Buddha's teaching is right for the period between death and rebirth.

The Buddha himself appeared in the astral body of the Jesus-Child of St. Luke's Gospel [See the lecture-course, The Gospel of St. Luke given by Dr. Steiner in Basle, September 1909, particularly lectures four to nine.] and Christ Himself leads men between death and rebirth through the Mars sphere, enabling them there to receive the Buddha's advanced teaching. Thus in the Mars sphere men can be emancipated from the tendency to uniformity resulting from the effects of public opinion which are detrimental for their further progress on Earth. Whereas in earlier times Mars was said to be the planet of warlike traits, it is now the Buddha's task gradually to transform these warlike traits in such a way that they become the foundation of the sense for freedom and independence needed in the present age. Whereas nowadays men have the tendency to surrender their sense of freedom and succumb to the fetters of public opinion, on Mars between death and rebirth they will strive to throw off these fetters and not bring them again into the life on Earth when they return to new incarnations.

It seems to me that here we have something that characterises most wonderfully how wisdom holds sway in the world, how everything that progresses or remains backward is manipulated in such a way that the final outcome is harmony in the evolution of worlds. Man cannot achieve progress by keeping as it were to the middle line, although there are many who realise the uselessness of adopting a one-sided standpoint. Admittedly, we come across idealists, materialists and other ‘-ists’ who swear by their own standpoint, but truly great individuals such as Goethe do no such thing. They try to grasp material conditions by means of material thinking. When men of less eminence imagine that they have understood this, they say: truth lies in the middle, between two different standpoints. But that would be the same as if someone in practical life wanted to sit between two chairs! The truth cannot be found by a one-sided adoption of this or that standpoint but by applying the modes of knowledge appropriate either for materialism or idealism, The world does not progress by undeviating adherence to a middle course: a middle course is appropriate when the opposing sides are also present and are recognised as forces. If something has to be weighed, the two scalepans are needed as well as the beam.

Thus there must be a counterbalance to public opinion; and this is provided by Buddha's teaching in the Mars sphere — which would not be necessary if public opinion had never existed. Life needs antithesis; life progresses in and through polarity. Somebody might think that as the North and South Poles are antitheses, it would be better if neither existed! They are not, of course, antithetic in the sense implied by a certain Professor of whom it was said that because he had written his books in such haste he could not think about their contents and stated that civilisation could develop only in the middle zone of the Earth because at the North Pole people would freeze through cold and at the South Pole melt through heat! In another connection, of course, North and South Poles are genuine opposites and are necessary because progress is not achieved by adopting a neutral course but by the maintenance and harmonising of opposites. Thus what develops on Earth had to undergo a process that lies below the level of progress. Public opinion is of less value than the judgements which an individual can reach on a path of progress. Public opinion is sub-human and it is this sub-human influence that is counteracted by the Buddha-stream through which man passes between death and rebirth. Both influences are necessary and it is extremely important to bear this in mind in connection with evolution.

It can therefore be said with truth: yes, there are indeed backward spirits, but everything that remains behind on the one side and on the other outstrips the evolutionary process, is manipulated by the wisdom of the Universe in such a way that harmony is the final result. The backward spirits are utilised to constitute the opposite pole to the spirits who have progressed to further stages.

[the relevant paragraph: changes at certain age]

If we look at life in this way it will be clear to us that in the future course of Earth evolution the human being will bring into life more and more qualities which will have greater weight and influence than the purely physical qualities. And it will be increasingly apparent that qualities other than the purely physical will have to be taken into account. Physical qualities will be evident, which — although they become manifest only gradually — can be traced back to infancy; but there will be other qualities to which this does not apply and which show themselves in a marked form only comparatively late in life.

A characteristic feature of evolution in the future will be the existence of an increasing number of individuals about whom it will inevitably be asked: What can have happened to that individual at a certain age in his life? He has completely changed; it is as though he has become a different being!

Qualities that were completely absent in earlier life, that appear only when a certain age has been reached, will reveal themselves. This will happen in the case of souls who are the most highly developed and in whom a certain break in their life becomes evident. For the fact that an individual was a pupil of Buddha in the life between death and rebirth reveals itself only at a certain age. This would apply to persons of whom it can be said: Up to a particular point in their lives their individual qualities were in evidence; but then entirely new trends appeared and they were able to understand matters altogether different from those for which they had previously shown understanding. These will be individuals who in the future will be the vehicles of true spiritual progress although they may simply be regarded as late developers, manifesting these qualities only late in life. In truth, however, the reason why these individuals display these qualities only in later life is that in previous incarnations on the Earth they had established the causes which enabled them to experience the spiritual life in the Mars sphere with particular intensity and so to acquire qualities which enabled them to bring a new impulse into the evolution of humanity. True spiritual culture will more and more be in the hands of individuals of this kind, who in their youth showed little aptitude for the spiritual standpoint they adopt in later life.

We now see that this is the reason why a certain fact has always been stressed in the Rosicrucian line of thought of which we ourselves have heard in the past, although it could not then be substantiated because our studies were not as advanced as they now are. Representatives of the Rosicrucian principle of Initiation in the West have always emphasised that it is impossible to discover in their childhood those who are to become leading figures, because these are individuals who give evidence of that fundamental change in later life of which I have spoken. When a seer speaks of Buddha today, he knows that Buddha has faithfully adhered to what his teaching promised; he has continued to work for that in human nature which has no direct urge for physical embodiment and therefore does not appear at the beginning of life in a physical body but only when the physical body has undergone a certain development, when a certain stage towards spirituality has been reached. Then, at a later stage of life the gift of the Buddha to man becomes an effective influence.

All this must be borne in mind if we are to understand the whole process of man's development. What it signifies for each individual in his life between birth and death — of this we shall hear later


[Buddha and Mars sphere]

Let us take the example of Gautama Buddha. He was that human personality who lived during the sixth century B.C. as the son of a king, and who rose in his twenty-ninth year from the rank of bodhisattva to that of Buddha. This means that he became a Buddha and no longer needed to incarnate in physical human form. The Gautama Buddha thus accomplished his last earthly life. A considerable number of people met this individuality on earth during that time, and also in earlier incarnations people had been in contact with the Bodhisattva. All these connections could be continued later in the spiritual world. The connection to Gautama Buddha, which bore the character of a pupil to teacher relationship, could be continued in the spiritual world. But there were souls who during the evolution of humanity never made a connection with Gautama Buddha on earth. These souls, even if they now have reached a considerable degree of development, cannot at all easily come in contact in the spiritual world with the being of Buddha, with the soul of the one who was incarnated as Gautama Buddha. For Gautama Buddha what may be called a replacement appears; he has a replacement if one has been unable to make a connection with him on earth.

The Buddha has had a special destiny since he rose to buddhahood and no longer needed to return to the earth thus continuing to dwell in a pure spiritual region. He remained in touch with earthly happenings, however, and worked from the spiritual worlds down into the earthly sphere. We know that the being of Gautama Buddha radiated into the Jesus child spoken of in the Gospel of St. Luke. The super-sensible being of Buddha streamed into the astral body of the Luke Jesus child. It worked from the super-sensible down into earthly realms. Human beings on earth could no longer find access to him. Only those could make a contact with the being of Gautama who, like Francis of Assisi, for instance, had gone through a higher form of development. Before he entered life on earth, and previous also to the last life between birth and death, the being of Francis of Assisi lived in a mystery center situated in the southeast of Europe. In this center there were no physical teachers, but teachers belonging to the super-sensible hierarchy of whom Buddha, or more accurately, of whom the soul that had been incarnated in Buddha, was one. The pupils in such mystery centers had already developed lofty faculties for beholding the super-sensible world. Such pupils are able to be taught by teachers who work only from the spiritual world. Thus Buddha taught in that mystery center, and Francis of Assisi in a former incarnation was his faithful and devoted pupil. At that time Francis of Assisi absorbed everything that later enabled him to receive the light-filled impulses of the higher hierarchies, and that then allowed him to appear in incarnation as the great mystic who was to exert such a strong influence on his age. This was all due to the fact that the soul of Francis of Assisi, through the higher faculties he possessed at the time, was able to establish a connection with the Gautama Buddha after the Buddha was able to work down from the super-sensible world upon him.

For ordinary human beings who are dependent on life as it unfolds through the senses and the intellect, such a meeting is not possible. In that case what has been said earlier applies. We cannot meet a person in the spiritual world unless we have first met him on earth.

The exception that we have just considered in relation to the Buddha brings forth yet another. Although it is impossible for ordinary individuals to meet others in spiritual realms with whom they have not had a previous connection on earth, yet if a person has received the Christ impulse and permeates himself with it, he can nevertheless meet the Buddha after death. For the position of this being is a special one.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century another planet was involved in a crisis of development similar to that of the earth when the Mystery of Golgotha occurred. As the Christ appeared on earth from higher realms at the time of Golgotha, so Buddha appeared on Mars during the Mars crisis of the seventeenth century. After Buddha had completed his incarnations it was no longer necessary for him to return to the earth, but he continued his activities in other realms. The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars. Until then Mars had been the chosen center of forces designated by the Greeks as fearfully warlike. This mission of Mars came to an end in the seventeenth century. Another impulse became necessary and the Buddha accomplished a Buddha crucifixion there. The Buddha Mystery on Mars did not take the same course as the Christ Mystery on earth, but Buddha, the Prince of Peace, who, during his last earthly life had spread peace and love wherever he went, was transferred to the belligerent realm of Mars. The fact that a being who is fully permeated by forces of peace and love was transferred to a realm of strife and disharmony may in a sense be regarded as a crucifixion. For the seer two happenings come together in a most wonderful way. One beholds, on the one hand, the eighty-year-old dying Buddha, and this death has a deeply moving, deeply stirring quality. Buddha died in 483 surrounded by silver rays on a wonderful moonlit night, radiating peace and compassion. That was his last earthly hour. And then he was active again in the way described. The seer discovers him kindling the compassionate, silvery moral light of Buddha on Mars at the beginning of the seventeenth century. These two wonderful events are deeply related in the course of world history.

The human souls who have received the Christ impulse into themselves in the corresponding manner here on earth travel through the cosmic universe after death. We all go through these cosmic realms. To begin with, we go through the planets of our planetary system. We experience a Moon period, a Mercury period, a Venus period, a Sun period, a Mars period, a Jupiter period and a Saturn period. Following these we go into the surroundings of our planetary system and then later commence our return journey. Now we encounter those forces and the beings from whom we must receive what we need to build up our next earthly life. He who has received the Christ impulse on earth can also receive what streams from the Buddha in his passage through the Mars sphere. This belongs to the exceptional case in which souls who have not been together with Buddha in earlier incarnations nevertheless have the opportunity of meeting him between death and rebirth.

Supersensible perception reveals that a number of personalities who lived during the seventeenth century owed their remarkable talents to the fact that during their prenatal life in the spiritual world they received an impulse from Buddha. At present the ability to receive such talents is still limited among human beings because it is only comparatively recently that the Buddha accomplished the Mystery on Mars. In future, human souls will be more and more capable of receiving the Buddha impulse from the Mars sphere. But in the nineteenth century there were already some personalities — and this was disclosed to those able to perceive it — who were able to develop their faculties here on earth as a result of the influences they received from Buddha through their passage in the Mars sphere. The course of life between death and rebirth is indeed complex and wonderful.

Unless man is able to take with him the light to illumine his experience between death and rebirth, he stumbles in the dark. This also holds good for this exceptional case. A person who departs from the earth through the gate of death without having taken the Christ impulse into himself, who wished to know nothing of it, will not have the slightest intimation of the influences of Buddha during his next life in the spiritual world as he passes through the Mars sphere. For him it is as if the Buddha were not present. It should be borne in mind that we encounter the beings of the Higher Hierarchies, but whether or not we perceive them and establish the right connection with them depends on whether we kindled a light in our last earthly existence so that we do not pass them by and are able to receive impulses from them. That is why it is a complete fallacy to maintain that it is unnecessary to concern oneself with the beyond during earthly existence.

You will gather from the foregoing that from a higher aspect life on earth really constitutes a special case. We live embodied within a special organism on earth between life and death. Apart from an earthly incarnation one can speak of an “embodiment” between death and rebirth, or rather of an “ensouling.” What I have elaborated in connection with the spiritual world also applies to the earth. Consider that a human being living between death and rebirth may pass through the Mars sphere without entering it in the slightest connection with the beings who inhabit Mars. He does not see them, and they are not aware of him. This is true of the earth also. Beings belonging to other planets, just as man belongs to the earth, are continually passing through the earth sphere. The inhabitants of Mars spend the normal course of their life on Mars, and during their experience, which corresponds on Mars to the period between death and a new life but yet is different, they pass through the planetary spheres. So that in fact inhabitants of other planets are continually passing through our earth sphere. Human beings are unable to establish any contact with them because they live under quite different conditions and because they will in the main not have made the least connection with these beings on Mars.


[Mars sphere]

When I was here last I said certain things about the passage through the Mercury sphere, the Venus sphere and the Sun sphere.

Today I wish to speak about certain aspects of the passage through the Mars sphere. When a man passes from the Sun sphere into the Mars sphere, the conditions of existence into which he enters are quite different in our present age from what they were a comparatively short time ago. To the eyes of the seer it is quite evident that there was good reason for the statements, originating from the clairvoyance once possessed by humanity, about the several bodies composing the planetary system. It was entirely in keeping with the facts that Mars was considered to be the member of our planetary system connected with all warlike, aggressive elements in the evolution of humanity. The fantastic theories advanced by physical astronomy today about a possible form of life on Mars are without foundation. The nature of the beings who may be called “Mars men,” if we wish to use such an expression, is altogether different from that of the men on earth, and no comparison is possible. Until the seventeenth century the character of the Mars beings had invariably been one of warlike aggressiveness. Belligerency, if one may use this word, was an inherent quality of the Mars “culture.” The basis of it was formed by the rivalries and clashes between souls perpetually battling with each other. As an individual was passing through the Mars sphere between death and rebirth, he came into contact with these forces of aggression and they made their way into his soul. If when he was born again his innate tendencies made him specially able to develop and give expression to these forces, it was to be attributed to his passage through the Mars sphere.

This subject is full of complications. On the earth we live among the beings of the three kingdoms of nature, and among men. By various means we come into contact with the souls who in their life after death still retain some connection with the earth but we also encounter beings who are utterly foreign to the earth. The more an initiate is able to widen his vision, the more souls are found who are strangers on the earth, and the more it is realized that wanderers are passing through the earth sphere. They are beings who are not connected with earthly life in the normal way. This is no different for us as men of earth than it is for the moon dwellers through whose sphere of life we also pass between death and a new birth. When we are passing through the Mars sphere, for example, we are ghosts, specters, for the Mars dwellers. We pass through their sphere as strangers, as alien beings. But the Mars beings, too, at a certain stage of their existence, are condemned to pass through our earth sphere and one who possesses certain initiate faculties encounters them when conditions are favorable.

Beings of our planetary system are continually streaming past each other. While we are living on earth, often imagining that we are surrounded only by the beings of the different kingdoms of nature, there are itinerants from all the other planets in our environment. During a certain period between death and a new birth we, too, are itinerants among the other planetary “men,” if one might speak in this way. We have to develop in our lives on earth the essentials of our particular mission in the present epoch of cosmic existence. Other beings are allotted to the other planetary worlds, and between death and rebirth we must contact these worlds, too. Therefore, when reference is made to one region or another of life in Devachan, it is actually the case, although it is not expressly stated, that the happenings are taking place in some sphere of our planetary system. This should be borne in mind. Thus at a certain time in life between death and a new birth we pass through the Mars sphere.

Just as the process of the earth evolution is a process of descent until the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, and of ascent from then onwards, so also do the other planets undergo an evolution in their own way. From the year 33 A.D. the date is approximately correct, the earth entered upon an ascending process of evolution. That year was the pivotal point in the earth's evolution.

[Nadir on Mars 17th century - Buddha]

On Mars the pivotal point was at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Until then, the evolution of conditions on Mars had been a process of descent and from that time onwards a process of ascent has occurred because an event of the greatest significance for that planet then took place.

In connection with earth evolution we know of the remarkable personage Gautama Buddha. He was a Bodhisattva until in the twenty-ninth year of his life he rose to the rank of Buddhahood and was then destined never to be incarnated again in a physical body on earth. From other lectures you will have heard, however, that later on the Buddha still worked into the earth sphere from the spiritual world. He sent his forces into the astral body of Jesus child of the Gospel of St. Luke. But in another way, too, he influenced earthly life without incarnating into a physical body. In the seventh and eighth centuries there was a mystery school in the southeast of Europe for those who at that time were endowed with some degree of seership. The teachers in that school were not only individualities in physical incarnation but there were also those who work from spiritual heights only as far as the etheric body. It is possible for more highly developed men to receive instruction from individualities who no longer, or never, descend into a physical body. The Buddha himself was a teacher in the mystery school. Among his pupils at that time was the personality who was born later on in his next incarnation as Francis of Assisi. Many of the qualities so impressively displayed in that later life are to be traced to the fact that Francis of Assisi had been a pupil of Buddha.

Here we see how the Buddha continued to work from spiritual heights into the earth sphere after the Mystery of Golgotha, and how he was connected with the life of man between birth and death.

Then, in the seventeenth century, the Buddha withdrew from earthly existence and accomplished for Mars a deed that, although not of the magnitude of the Mystery of Golgotha, nevertheless resembled it and corresponded on Mars to the Mystery of Golgotha on earth. At the beginning of the seventeenth century the Buddha became the redeemer, the savior of Mars. He was the individuality whose mission it was to inculcate peace and harmony into the aggressive nature of Mars. Since then the Buddha impulse is to be found on Mars, as the Christ impulse is to be found on the earth since the Mystery of Golgotha.

The destiny of the Buddha on Mars was not death as in the Mystery of Golgotha. Yet in a certain respect, it, too, was a kind of crucifixion inasmuch as this wonderful individuality, who in keeping with his life on earth radiated universal peace and love, was transferred into the midst of what was completely alien to him, into the aggressive, warlike element on Mars. It was Buddha's mission to exercise a pacifying influence on Mars. For the gaze of seership there is something tremendously impressive in the picture of two collateral events. The Buddha had risen to the highest point attainable in his earthly existence, to the rank of Buddhahood, and had lived on earth as the Buddha for fifty years. Then in his eightieth year, on October 13, 483 B.C, on a glorious moonlit night, he breathed out his being into the silvery radiance glimmering over the earth. This event, which even outwardly seems to be a manifestation of the breath of peace emanating from the Buddha, bears witness to the fact that he had attained the zenith of development within his earthly existence. It is deeply impressive to contemplate his wonderful happening in connection with that moment at the beginning of the seventeenth century when, with all his abounding powers of peace and love, the Buddha went to Mars in order that those powers might stream from him into the aggressiveness prevailing there to gradually inaugurate the process of Mars' ascending evolution.

When a soul passed through the Mars sphere in times before the Buddha Mystery, it was endowed primarily with forces of aggressiveness. Since the Buddha Mystery a soul undergoes essentially different experiences if it is fitted by nature to gain something from the Mars forces. To avoid any misunderstanding it must be emphasized that as little as the whole earth today is already Christianized, as little has Mars become entirely a planet of peace. That process will still take a long time so that if a soul has any aptitude for receiving elements of aggressiveness there is still ample opportunity for it. Nevertheless, we must not lose sight, spiritually, of the event of which we have spoken. The more deeply the earth enters into a phase of materialism, the less will anyone who really understands the evolutionary process admit that it would be natural for a man in his life between birth and death to follow Buddha in the way that men followed him in pre-Christian times. The development of natures such as that of Francis of Assisi will gradually become less and less possible on earth, less and less suitable for external civilization. Nevertheless, between death and rebirth the soul is able to pass through this experience. Grotesque as it may seem, yet it corresponds to the facts, for a certain period between death and a new birth, during the passage through the Mars sphere, every human soul has the opportunity of being a Franciscan or a Buddhist and of receiving all the forces that can flow from feeling and experience of this kind. The passage through the Mars sphere can therefore be of great importance for the human soul.


Then the soul passes into cosmic-spiritual life and finds its place in the Mars region. This region corresponds with what is described in Theosophy as the first sphere of the ‘Spiritland’.

This description portrays the inner aspect of the fact that the soul is spiritual to the extent of being able to behold as something external to itself the ‘archetype’, as it were, of the physical bodily organisation and of physical conditions on the Earth in general. The archetypes of physical life on Earth appear as a kind of ‘continental’ mass of the Spiritland. The external configurations of a man's different incarnations are inscribed in this ‘continental’ region.

There we have a picture of what, in terms of cosmic existence, the human soul has to experience in the Mars region. It might seem strange that this Mars region which has repeatedly been described in these lectures as a region of strife, of aggressive impulses until the beginning of the seventeenth century, should be said to be the first region of Devachan, of the true Spiritland. Nevertheless this is the case. Everything that on Earth belongs to the actual material realm and causes the mineral kingdom to appear as a purely material realm is due to the fact that on Earth the forces are engaged in perpetual conflict among themselves. This also led to the result that at the time when materialism was in its prime and material life was assumed to be the sole reality, the ‘struggle for existence’ was regarded as the only valid law of life on Earth. That is, of course, an error, because material existence is not the only form of existence evolving on Earth. But when the human being assumes embodiment on Earth he can only enter into the form of existence that has its archetypes in the lowest region of what is, for the Earth, the Spiritland.

Read the description of the lowest region of Spiritland as given in the book Theosophy. I want to quote this particular chapter today in connection with our present studies. Towards the beginning of the description of the Spiritland you will find the following passage. [See Section III.4 in Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1963.]

“The development of the spirit in Spiritland takes place through the man throwing himself completely into the life of the different regions of this land.”

Thus as the result of our studies in the course of the Winter we could now say that from the Mars region onwards the human soul begins to live more deeply into spiritual conditions of existence.

To continue:

“His own life as it were dissolves into each region successively; he takes on, for the time being, their characteristics. Through this they permeate his being with theirs, in order that his being may be able to work, strengthened by theirs, in his earthly life. In the first region of the Spiritland, man is surrounded by the spiritual archetypes of earthly things. During life on earth he learns to know only the shadows of these archetypes which he grasps in his thoughts. What is merely thought on the earth is in this region experienced, lived. Man moves among thoughts; but these thoughts are real beings.”

Vedanta: ‘Thou art that’, ‘I am Brahman’

Again, a little later:

“Our own embodiments dissolve here into a unity with the rest of the world. Thus here we look upon the archetypes of the physical, corporeal reality as a unity, to which we have ourselves belonged. We learn, therefore, gradually to know our relationship, our unity, with the surrounding world, by observation. We learn to say to it: ‘That which is here spread out around thee, thou art that.’ And that is one of the fundamental thoughts of ancient Indian Vedanta wisdom. The sage acquires, even during his earthly life, what others experience after death, namely, ability to grasp the thought that he himself is related to all things, the thought, ‘Thou art that’. In earthly life this is an ideal to which the thought-life can be devoted; in the Land of Spirit it is an immediate reality, one which grows ever clearer to us through spiritual experience. And man himself comes to know more and more clearly in this realm that in his own inner being he belongs to the spirit-world. He is aware of himself as a spirit among spirits, a member of the Primordial Spirits, and he will feel in his own self the word of the Primordial Spirit: ‘I am the Primal Spirit.’ (The Wisdom of the Vedanta says, ‘I am Brahman’, i.e. ‘I belong to the Primordial Being in Whom all beings have their origin’.)”

From this passage it is clear that when, during the life between death and rebirth man enters into the Mars region, he grasps the full significance of the saying, ‘Tat tvam asi’, ‘Thou art that’, and of the other saying, ‘I am Brahman’. ‘Tat tvam asi’, ‘Thou art that’, is only an earthly rendering of what is a self-evident experience in the Mars region, the lowest region of Spiritland. If we now ask whence the wisdom of ancient India derived the deeply significant affirmations, ‘Tat tvam asi’, ‘Thou art that’, ‘I am Brahman’, we have now identified the region in question and those Teachers in ancient India are revealed to us as beings belonging to the Mars region but transferred to the Earth.


To what was said years ago in the book Theosophy Theosophy about the Mars region, the lowest region of Devachan, there can now be added what we have heard in these lectures. namely, that at the dawn of the modern age the Buddha was transferred to this same region, the Mars region. Half a millennium before the Mystery of Golgotha, the Buddha — regarded as one who was to prepare spiritually for this Mystery — had come to the Earth, to the territory where Mars wisdom had been proclaimed since times primeval. And centuries after the Mystery of Golgotha he was, as we know, sent by an act of Rosicrucian wisdom to the Mars region in order to continue working there. (See Lecture Five.)

-         In ancient times Brahmanism belonged intrinsically to the Mars region of the Cosmos.

-         At the beginning of the seventeenth century after the Mystery of Golgotha, Brahmanism passed over into the Buddha-impulse and the reflection of this on Earth was the absorption of Brahmanism into Buddhism in the cultural life of India.

What takes place on Earth, therefore, is in a wide and ample sense an image of happenings in the Heavens.

If you have read the chapter in Theosophy which deals with what you now know to be the Mars region and in which a self-evident expression is the ‘I am Brahman’, you will be able, if you read that chapter again, to picture how an event here on Earth is also an event in a region of the Cosmos, how this event can be understood, and how the Buddha-impulse as a cosmic happening is related to the circumstances described in the relevant chapter of that book. We shall realise that our studies during the Winter were closely linked with the theosophical work we began more than ten years ago. We then described the ‘Spiritland’ and a ‘continental’ mass of Spiritland; the lowest region of Spiritland was characterised in relation to the inner life of the soul. The description given was such that if you have understood it, you will realise that the Buddha-impulse has its place in the lowest region of Spiritland as described in these lectures. Here is an example of how the details of spiritual research harmonise with each other.


Man continues his wandering and comes into the Mars existence.

What do we mean when we say: Man comes into the Mars existence?

It is now no longer possible, you must remember, to speak of man in his spirit-form, for by this time he is wholly changed; he has become a spiritual image of the great cosmic sphere. On and on leads the path, through the spheres of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, out into the surging waves of the Cosmos.

In the Mars region the human being lives among the “population” of Mars — if I may so express myself. The inhabitants of Mars are discovered to be either discarnate human souls or Beings of the Hierarchies, but above all those of the Hierarchies from whose entire being Cosmic Speech sounds forth into universal space. For man is now in the region where Cosmic Music becomes Cosmic Speech. At first he hears it; then he is himself interwoven into the Cosmic Speech. Instead of the imitative speech of humanity, he hearkens to a speech that is creative, a speech out of which things are born and have their being. During man's passage through the sphere of Mars he acquires conscious knowledge of the Beings who people this region. The spiritual population of Mars consists of Beings who are the Knowers of the Cosmic Speech. There are other Beings too, — for example. Beings who are warlike in nature. But so far as man is concerned, the most important Beings in the Mars sphere are those who in their whole nature are Cosmic Word. They are the Guardians of the Cosmic Speech.

the planetoid belt


In order that Man, though not yet able to enter the Jupiter region, may receive, between death and a new birth, something of the forces of Jupiter and also of Saturn, many planetoids are interspersed between Mars and Jupiter; in their outer aspect they are constantly being discovered by the astronomers. They make up the region which in its spiritual aspect is experienced by a man after death because he cannot yet reach Jupiter. They have the remarkable characteristic of being spiritual colonies, as it were, of beings from Jupiter and Saturn who have withdrawn there.

And before a man is ripe for existence on Earth, he can find in this region of the planetoids, which are there for that purpose, a kind of preparatory substitute, before he is able to enter the region of Jupiter and Saturn.

At present, therefore, by the time a man has gone through death and rebirth, he has achieved his Mars-organisation, and has absorbed those Jupiter and Saturn forces to be found in the colonised regions of the planetoids. With the after-effects of this (we still have to learn about them) the human being embarks on another earthly life.

How this life between death and a new birth, which I have now described in relation to the world of the stars, can be further characterised, we shall hear tomorrow





Jupiter sphere


Man's journey then leads him into the region of Jupiter where dwell the Beings who are the guardians of the Cosmic Thoughts. These Beings radiate thought-beings into our planetary system and its environment. Through this region also man must pass, and he is involved there in a process of metamorphosis which I can only describe in a rather prosaic way.

Picture to yourselves that man becomes a kind of image of the cosmic sphere; that is to say, his whole being is really the spirit-germ of the head as it will be in his next life on Earth.

-         In the Sun existence, having experienced the shrill discord set up by earthly speech, he learns to lay aside this earthly speech.

-         During his passage through Mars he becomes part of the Cosmic Speech, he grows one with it, and begins also to lay the foundation for an understanding of Cosmic Speech. For it is like this. The metamorphosis of the lower man has begun — the legs into the lower jaw, the arms into the upper jaw, and so on. In community with the Beings of the Hierarchies the human being builds the spirit-germ of his future head.

But, to begin with, this head is built for understanding the Cosmos — not the Earth! It learns first to understand Cosmic Speech, Cosmic Thoughts. Cosmic Thoughts and Cosmic Speech find a home in the human head; just as here on Earth man knows of minerals, plants and animals, so, during his journey through the spheres of Mars and Jupiter, he is made acquainted with the mysteries of the spiritual Universe.

We shall never have a true feeling or perception of the nature of man until we realise in clear consciousness that between death and rebirth the human being has learned to know the names of the wonderful and majestic Beings of the higher Hierarchies, has learned to understand the work and creative activities of these Beings in the Cosmos, has learned to follow in his thought — not little everyday problems of personal life, such as, How am I to get back to Amsterdam? — but such a question as: How is one world-epoch born out of another through the workings of the higher Hierarchies?

So much for man's experience in his passage through Jupiter.

Saturn sphere

cosmic memory

history image backwards

like tracks in the snow


Now comes the passage through the Saturn existence. Saturn bestows upon the human being what I will call Cosmic Memory — for in the Saturn sphere dwell those Spiritual Beings who preserve the memory of everything that has ever come to pass in our planetary system. Saturn is the mighty bearer of the memory of all the happenings of our planetary system.

Just as in the Mars sphere man learns the speech of the Gods, and in the Jupiter sphere the thoughts of the Gods, so in his first passage through the Saturn existence he learns to know all that lives in the memory of the Gods of our planetary system.

Hence it comes about that man's head in the spiritual spheres — which is the spirit-germ of his future earthly head — receives incorporated into it everything that enables him to be a citizen of the Cosmos and to live in the Cosmos among the Beings of the higher Hierarchies, even as he lives on earth among the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms.



We learned how the spiritual beings belonging to a planetary sphere and the whole spiritual constitution of that sphere penetrate and work into what a man brings with him when after death he is journeying onward in the spiritual world.

The Saturn sphere works in a still more drastic way [then Jupiter].

I told you that even with the insight of Initiation one must have passed the sixty-third year and be able to look back over the period of life between the ages of fifty-six and sixty-three before it is possible to acquire independent vision of all the connections, and, in the setting of the weaving spiritual life of the whole universe, discern how the Saturn sphere works upon man.

The whole working of the Saturn sphere is conditioned by the fact that in all the beings of this sphere there is an intense, all-pervading consciousness of the past, and more or less unconsciousness of the immediate present. This makes a deep and shattering impression. The immediate deeds of the Saturn beings, even including the deeds of the Seraphim, are performed in a kind of unconsciousness. These beings are not aware, in the immediate present, of what is happening to them and through them; but they know at once, with unerring exactitude, what they have done, what they have thought, what has taken place among them, directly it has actually happened.

Let me try by means of a picture to characterise the conditions of existence prevailing in the Saturn sphere.

  • Imagine yourselves walking about the Earth, never knowing in the immediately present moment what you are doing, what you are thinking, what is happening to you or through you; you are just walking. As you walk you do not see yourselves, but you leave traces behind; from the spot you reached a moment previously there arises, let us say, a little snow-man; you take another step — another little snow-man is there; a further step — again a little snow-man ... and so it goes on. Mobile figures are being left behind you all the time and you can look back and see yourselves exactly as you once were. The very moment something has happened through you, you see it there, see how it remains, becomes part of Eternity. You look back and in this perspective see everything that has happened through you inscribed as it were in an eternal chronicle in the Universe.
  • The consciousness of the Saturn beings is of this character. But what the Saturn beings behold as a vista of past ages of evolution unites with a vista of the past evolution of all beings belonging to the entire planetary system. The consciousness of the Saturn beings may therefore be characterised by saying that they gaze back upon the memory, if I may so express it, of all the beings of the whole planetary system. Everything is inscribed in this faculty of cosmic remembrance, cosmic memory, of the Saturn beings. If the vista of the weaving life and realities of existence in the Saturn sphere is a shattering experience for the initiated observer, it is even more shattering for him to perceive how the effects of a previous incarnation are carried down into a new earthly life by individualities whose karma, determined by their particular experiences, was shaped and given configuration in the Saturn sphere.

[important Individualities]

And when this is revealed in a personality of outstanding importance in world-history, our vista of the universe takes on a content of untold majesty and power.

If we study the life of such personalities here on Earth — that is to say, if we study it spiritually, not merely figuring out letters of a script but reading its meaning — we are led to the realities of existence in the Saturn sphere. Our conceptual life is infinitely enriched in spiritual content when the workings of the Saturn sphere are revealed; we look down to the Earth and perceive in happenings there a reflected image of what occurred in the Saturn sphere.

[Individuality of Schiller]

There is an individuality who lived in the South of Europe in the first century A.D., at the time when Hellenism was still a potent influence in the development of Christianity, and who with strong intellectual leanings to Hellenised Christianity passed through experiences in the Roman Empire that were of common occurrence during those early centuries. He witnessed the cruel persecutions of the Christians, the brutalities of Roman Imperialism, the unjust treatment meted out to the better types of men. Filled with profound indignation by these happenings, he passed through the gate of death in a mood of despair and resignation, questioning whether there is any hope of progress for a world in which such things are possible. Having witnessed the evil deeds of the Caesars and the sacrifices of individual Christian martyrs, doubt arose in this soul as to whether there is any prospect at all of ultimate adjustment between good and evil in the world. The spectacle of the good on the one side and of the evil on the other, stood before him in dire and often terrible contrast. With this impression the soul passed through the gate of death and subsequently through less important earthly lives. But the experiences of the Graeco-Roman incarnation had engraved deep furrows in the life of soul and it was these experiences which, as the eighteenth century approached, were elaborated and wrought out in the Saturn sphere into the subsequent karma of this individuality.

The Saturn sphere has a deep and incisive effect upon the shaping of karma. Whenever it is a case of laying hold of the human soul in its very depths and of developing radical, potent forces from these depths, the Saturn sphere works in such a way that the forces will penetrate deeply, very deeply into the physical organisation. Everything that happens in the Saturn sphere is intrinsically and essentially spiritual but also takes far deeper effect when the human being descends to earthly embodiment. The result is a physical organisation which strives for a balancing-out of the experiences undergone by the soul in an earlier earthly life. The element of retrospection is always strongly at work. When a man's karma is being wrought out in the Saturn sphere he looks backwards, to remembrances, to the past. Then, when he comes down to the earthly realm, the negative image as it were of what he has lived through in the Saturn sphere discloses itself. The intense concentration upon the past is transformed into a resolute striving for ideals which lead forward, towards the future.

Human beings who bring down their karma from the Saturn sphere are fired with enthusiasm for the future, for ideals which point to the future, precisely because in a purely spiritual life in the Saturn sphere their gaze was directed paramountly to the past. The individuality of whom I am here speaking appeared again in the second half of the eighteenth century Friedrich Schiller.

Think of Schiller's whole life, think how it comes to expression in the tremendous forcefulness and fire of the early dramas, with their possibly faulty artistic construction, and side by side with this, think of the deep seriousness, the profound melancholy that weighed upon his soul. See how everything in Schiller, especially the pathos of his early destiny, emanates from the vein of melancholy that is so deeply rooted in his soul. And then, when he becomes acquainted with Goethe, see how he unfolds a kind of inspired understanding of Hellenism; see all this as the foreground and behind it the man whose outlook acquired its basic trend on the one side in the early centuries of Hellenised Christianity and on the other from the horror and indignation aroused by the behaviour of the Roman Emperors, and then see how these experiences are deepened and wrought out into new karma by the forces of the Saturn sphere. Schiller is through and through a Saturn man in respect of his karma. These things are not rightly experienced if they are regarded as so many theories. They can be truly grasped only by one who with all the forces of his heart and mind steeps himself in the realities of this spiritual life and being in the starry worlds — in this case, the Saturn sphere — and having acquired a deeper understanding of an individual earthly destiny, observes them in manifestation there. ... Saturn-karma — Saturn-karma above all — works in deep, very deep regions of the soul. I want now to direct your attention to an individuality who in an earlier incarnation was actually an Initiate. I speak very objectively in this case and it has cost me a good deal of effort to work through to the truth because I was never specially attracted by this individuality in his new incarnation, nor am I to-day. But it is a matter of establishing objective facts and although effort is necessary, the truth is that one can discern with greater prospects of exactitude the karma of individuals to whom one is not drawn by personal sympathy and the like. And so I am going to speak to you about an individuality who in an earlier earthly life was an Initiate in Mysteries which were of very great moment in the evolution of humanity. This individuality was an Initiate in Irish Mysteries, the Mysteries of Hibernia, to which I have referred in one of the Mystery Plays. There were many experiences to be undergone before a man was led onwards through Initiation to wisdom in the form in which it was presented to him in these Irish Mysteries. The aspirant for Initiation had first to experience every kind of doubt that can arise in the human soul concerning the great truths of existence. The pupil was actually taught to doubt, to be utterly sceptical of everything, especially of the highest truths. And only when he had undergone all the suffering, the sense of tragedy, dejection and inner despair which accompany such doubt, only then was he guided to a full comprehension of truth, first of all as an Imaginative, pictorial experience and then as an experience of spiritual reality. Thus everyone who attained Initiation in the Hibernian Mysteries had learned not only to believe in the truth but also not to believe in it. Only so could his fidelity to truth prove itself a potent, unshakable force in life. Another feeling too was awakened in those who sought the Initiation-wisdom of Hibernia. It was the feeling that all existence may be as earthly existence: illusory, unreal. The pupils were brought to a point where they not only doubted truth but where they experienced the nothingness, the non-reality in human existence. And then, in order that the pupil might experience the etheric forces in their constant transformations and the physical forces which though involved in destruction are ever and again restored by the Spiritual, in order that when the right state of soul had been induced he might experience in a real imagination the destructive and upbuilding forces implicit in all life, he was led before two mighty pillar-statues. He was exhorted to press into one of the statues; this caused an indentation but because the substance of this statue was elastic throughout the form was ever and again restored and the statue seemed as though it were alive. And because the impression made by the actual touch was received by the pupil in a mood of reverence and solemnity, he became aware, inwardly aware, of the essential nature of the Living. The other statue was so constructed that pressure left an indentation which defaced the form and it was not until the following day, when the pupil was again led before this statue, that the deformation was repaired. The inner constitution of the Physical and the Etheric — something therefore of the truth revealed to self-observation — was presented in this way to the pupils. Then they were taken before other images and were thus led on to an even fuller understanding. The experience of spiritual reality was strong and intense in the pupils and Initiates of Hibernia. Indeed at certain stages of Initiation they no longer paid much heed to outer, physical reality, so intensely conscious were they of spiritual reality. It is actually the case that while the Mystery of Golgotha was taking place in physical reality over in Asia, the Hibernian priesthood so conducted the ceremonies that at the very time when the Mystery of Golgotha was fulfilled in outer, physical reality in Palestine, it was enacted in the form of a sacred rite in a Mystery Centre of Hibernia. Thus a physical fact taking place in a different region of the Earth was experienced in distant Hibernia as a spiritual fact. This will show you to what depths men were led in those Hibernian Mysteries.

[Victor Hugo]

There is an individuality who in very early times had attained a certain degree of Initiation in the Hibernian Mysteries and then, later on, passed through a female incarnation — but the influence of the Hibernian incarnation worked deeply, very deeply upon the soul. Then, in a life between death and a new birth, this individuality lived through experiences arising when karma is wrought out in the Saturn sphere. The whole significance of what the soul had acquired in an Hibernian Initiation — not at the highest but at a certain stage — was seen in retrospect, in a perspective widening out into a vista of great cosmic happenings. The import of the knowledge which it was possible to acquire in Hibernia was seen in its relation to the whole past evolution of man. In a majestic vision of cosmic evolution it was revealed how human longings and strivings through thousands of years had brought this Hibernia into being. But the modern age held in store for this individuality a body and a kind of education by which the most significant elements were obscured — yet for all that came to a certain expression in keeping with the civilisation of the nineteenth century. In this case too, what had been retained of the great cosmic retrospect was transformed when the soul came down into a physical body and underwent a kind of education neither of which in truth were suited to experiences lived through in an Hibernian Initiation and wrought out in the Saturn sphere. When the soul descended, this was all transformed into ideals reaching out to the future. But because the body was that of a Frenchman of the nineteenth century and therefore altogether different from the remarkable bodies of the old Irish Initiates, a very great deal receded into the background, transforming itself into sublime but fantastic pictures which, however have a certain power, a certain grandeur about them. This individuality reincarnated as Victor Hugo.

Beyond Saturn - Sphere of fixed stars


[Beyond Saturn – cosmic twilight]

We expand ever further into cosmic space, but as we move out beyond the Saturn sphere our state of consciousness is changed. We enter into a kind of cosmic twilight. We cannot call it cosmic sleep, but a cosmic twilight.

Now for the first time the powers of the whole cosmos can work in upon us. They work from all sides, and we receive them into our being. So after we have expanded into the spheres, there is a period between death and rebirth when the forces of the whole cosmos stream into our being from all sides, from the whole of the starry realms, as it were.


on cosmic alphabet



Then, having been so deeply enriched in his spirit-existence that he has learned to understand the speech of the great world, the speech of the Macrocosm in the widest sense of the word, man passes out of the spheres of planetary activity and enters the sphere of activity of the Fixed Stars. Here the work upon the primal germ of the human head, the pre-figuring and shaping of it, is brought to completion by influences pouring in from infinitudes of spiritual worlds.


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References and further reading