Planes or Worlds of Consciousness

From Anthroposophy

The different states in the evolution of the cosmos are described as the working of the three Logoi in the various states or three dimensions of evolution: Conditions of Consciousness (CoC), Conditions of Life (CoL), and Conditions of Form (CoF).

From this evolutionary dynamic arise different 'worlds'. Man participates in them today, can broaden his consciousness through initiatory practice, and in the future will participate in the different worlds having arrived at states of consciousness much higher than he has today.

Different states of clairvoyance allow the initiate or spiritual scientist to investigate the different worlds .

These world are also called 'planes', but these should not be thought of as physical in time and space, different, or stacked: they interpenetrate as part of the same single cosmos.


FMC00.079 gives an overview of the various terms for the different worlds or 'planes' corresponding to different Conditions of Consciousness.


Schema FMC00.128 sketches the threefold soul with its three components in the lower spirit world, long the Planes or worlds of consciousness. One can see that as the rippling in of the sacrificed substance of the SoF took hold of the astral, then etheric, and then physical body; that it was weaving into the l in the three lowest level of the Spirit world, the atmospheric (air), oceanic (water), and lastly continental (earth) regions. When Man creates something new, he is really Free Man Creator in the fourth sublayer. When Man works on the transformation and spiritualization of his lower bodies, he writes into the higher regions and 'overwrites' the scaffolding structure received by the higher hierarchies.

More on: the Human 'I'


Schema FMC00.078 shows the 'wheel of planes' as described in 1904-02-02-GA090A and explained in 1904-11-10-GA089, showing correspondences between planes.


Schema FMC00.389 is an integrative reference table that pulls together information from various perspectives, a.o. the cosmological aspects of the three logoi from GA089


Schema FMC00.389A is a simplified version of the reference table Schema FMC00.389. It shows the akashic record used by clairvoyant investigation. Notice the 'mirroring' across the fourth layer of the spirit world. These correspondences are not the same as in the wheel of planes, Schema FMC00.078.


Lecture coverage and references

1912-06-12-GA137 (SWCC)

You see, therefore, it is quite possible to perceive with ordinary intelligence that there are these three styles of consciousness. It would take us too far now to investigate the indications that undoubtedly exist in man of still higher consciousnesses. We have, however, shown that whenever man sets out to reflect on his life as Earth man, he discovers manifestations of higher consciousnesses. It is, therefore, possible to speak to Earth man of these higher states of consciousness. ...

In spiritual science we speak of different states of consciousness. In reality they are different worlds and it has become customary to call these different states of consciousness different planes.

  • That which can be surveyed with the physical consciousness is called the physical plane;
  • that which is perceptible to the first consciousness of a super-sensible nature, the astral plane;
  • to the second, the lower Devachan or mental plane;
  • and to the third, the higher mental, or higher Devachan plane.
  • Still farther on, we have the Budhi plane and the Nirvana plane.

All we are doing here is simply to give other names to the findings of spiritual science. In all cases .. it is always man who, in his varying conditions or states of consciousness, is active as member of the different planes or worlds. What we have done is to lead over the knowledge of man from the standpoint of esoteric science, where we speak of different Conditions of Consciousness and different Conditions of Life and Form in evolution, to the knowledge of man from the standpoint of theosophy. For where the spiritual researcher speaks of Conditions of Consciousness, the theosophist speaks of successive planes. Esoteric or spiritual science can in this manner be communicated openly as theosophy.


[1] - Why is the etheric not a 'world of consciousness'?

The etheric body of an organism, be it Man, plant or animal, or Earth, is drawn as a structural bodily principle between the astral and the physical. It forms and maintains the physical. Yet the etheric does not appear as a 'world'. Simply put, spiritual science and Rudolf Steiner speak of three worlds: the physical, the soul (astral) world, and the spirit world (higher unformed, and lower formed). The etheric consists of etheric formative forces that form and constitute what we see on the physical plane. These forces come from collaboration between the spirits of the Elementary Kingdoms and the elementals of nature; coordinated by H3, the spirits of the third hierarchy.

See also:

Various other notes

In various epochs and cultural ages, humanity goes through a special relationship with the CoC at any of these planes as the bodily principles are being developed and refined, see for example in the Current Postatlantean epoch.

Related pages

References and further reading