Polarian epoch

From Anthroposophy

The first Polarian epoch of Earth's fourth Condition of Form (CoF) in the fourth Condition of Life (CoL), represents the start of the physical mineral level. In the Polarian epoch the Earth and Man were in etheric form.



  • The human being was an 'ether-Man' (1904-11-02-GA089, 1904-12-27-GA090A)
    • Polarian human beings were similar to four-footed animals, but formed out of a soft, pliant substance similar to a jellyfish, but much warmer. (1905-10-25-GA093)
    • looked oval, like an egg, and moved in a wholly etheric element
    • only had a since sense of hearing to give orientation in or movement of the (non compressible) ether matter that can only vibrate
    • double etheric body with complex structure, containing all forms of animals that would later separate (amphibians, birds, lower and higher mammals)
  • Man lived in zone around north pole, in a tropical polar climate (1905-10-25-GA093)
  • Guidance of mankind
    • The human beings with the best forms, consisting of the noblest components, received at that time great and remarkable help of a special nature, from beings still connected with the Earth who had earlier reached a higher stage. The most beautiful of the Moon pitris descended to the Earth. (1905-10-25-GA093)

Kingdoms of nature

  • animal kingdom
    • in the Polarean age the moners and protozoons split off (1907-11-22-GA100)



Schema FMC00.317 is a BBD by Rudolf Steiner of the Earth before the separation of the Sun: the Sun was a much larger body that contained the Earth with the Moon.


FMC00.057C is added here to show how the first Polarian epoch fits in to the whole of Earth's evolution, and the gradual emergence of the spectrum of elements and ethers now in the fourth Condition of Life (CoL) and fourth Condition of Form (CoF).


Lecture coverage and references


Chapter 8

In theosophical literature these two stages of the development of man are described as the first two root races of our earth. The first is called the Polarean, the second, the Hyperborean race.


One must imagine the perceptual world of these ancestors of man to have been a quite general and indefinite one. Only two of the types of perception of today had already become separated: the sense of hearing and the sense of touch. Because of the changes that had taken place in the body as well as in the physical environment, the entire human form was no longer capable of being, in a manner of speaking, an “ear.” A special part of the body remained capable of reverberating to delicate vibrations. It furnished the material from which our organ of hearing gradually developed. However, approximately the whole remainder of the body continued to be the organ of touch.

It can be seen that up to this point the entire process of the development of Man is connected with a change in the temperature conditions of Earth. It was the heat in Man's environment which had brought him to the level we have described.

But now the external temperature had reached a point where further progress of the human form would no longer have been possible. Within the organism a counter-action against the further cooling of the earth now begins. Man starts to produce his own source of heat. Up to this point he had shared the temperature of his environment. Now organs develop in him which make him able to create the degree of heat necessary for his life. Previously, the circulating substances which passed through him had been dependent on the environment in this respect. Now he himself could develop heat for these substances. The bodily fluids now became warm blood. With this he attained a much higher degree of independence as a physical being than he had possessed before. The whole inner life became more active. Perception still depended entirely on the influences of the outside world. Filled with its own heat, the body acquired an independent physical inner life. Now the soul had a basis inside the body upon which it could develop a life which was no longer merely a participation in the life of the outside world.

Through this process, the life of the soul was drawn into the realm of the earthly-material. Previously, desires, wishes, passions, joy and grief of the soul could only be produced by something that was itself soul-like. That which proceeded from another soul-being awakened sympathy or aversion in the soul, excited the passions, and so forth. No external physical object could have had such an effect. Now only did it become possible for such external objects to have a significance for the soul. For the latter experienced the enhancement of the inner life, which had awakened when the body produced its own heat, as something pleasant, the disturbance of this inner life as something disagreeable. An external object suitable for contributing to physical well-being could be desired, could be wished for. What in theosophical literature is called Kama — the body of wishes — became connected with earthly Man. The objects of the senses could now become objects of desire. Through his body of wishes man became tied to earthly existence.

This fact coincides with a great event in the universe, with which it is causally connected. Up to this point there had been no material separation between sun, earth, and moon. In their effect on Man these three were one body.


Now the separation took place; the more delicate substantiality, which includes everything which had previously made it possible for the soul to act in an immediately vitalizing manner, separated itself as the sun; the coarsest part was extruded as the moon; and the Earth, with respect to its substantiality, stood in the middle between the two others. This separation was of course not a sudden one; rather the whole process proceeded gradually while man was advancing from the stage of reproduction by division to the one described last. It was indeed by the universal processes just mentioned that this development of Man was brought about. The sun first withdrew its substance from the common heavenly body. Thereby it became impossible for the soul element to vitalize the remaining earthly matter without mediation. Then the moon began to form itself. Thus the Earth entered the condition which made possible the capacity for perception characterized above.

Chapter 9

We shall now follow the Akasha Chronicle back into that remote past in which our present Earth had its beginning. By “Earth” is to be understood that condition of our planet by virtue of which it can support minerals, plants, animals, and men in their form of today. For this condition was preceded by others in which the natural realms just mentioned existed in considerably different forms. That which one now calls Earth went through many changes before it could become the carrier of our present mineral, plant, animal, and human worlds. Minerals for instance also existed under the preceding conditions, but they looked quite different from those of today. These past conditions will be discussed further below. Now we shall only call attention to the manner in which the immediately preceding condition changed into the present one.

One can conceive of such a transformation to some extent by comparing it to the passage of a plant through the seed stage. Imagine a plant with root, stalk, leaves, blossom, and fruit. It takes in substances from its environment and secretes others. But everything in it which is substance, form, and process disappears, except for the small seed. Life develops by passing through it, and in the new year it rises again in the same form. Thus everything which existed on our earth in its preceding condition has disappeared, only to arise again in its present condition. What for the preceding condition one might call mineral, plant, animal has passed away, as in the plant, root, stalk, and so forth, pass away. There as well as here, a germinal stage has remained, from which the old form develops anew. The forces which will cause the new form to emerge lie hidden in the seed.

At the period discussed here we are dealing with a kind of Earth germ. This contained within itself the forces which led to the Earth of today. These forces were acquired through earlier conditions. This earth germ however must not be imagined as a densely material one, like that of a plant. It was rather of a soul character. It consisted of that delicate, malleable, mobile substance which is called “astral” in occult literature.

In this astral germ of earth there are only human rudiments at first. These are the rudiments of the later human souls. Everything in preceding conditions which was already present as a mineral; plant, or animal nature has been drawn into these human rudiments and become fused with them. Before man enters upon the earth he is a soul, an astral entity. As such he appears on earth. The latter exists in a state of the most highly-refined substantiality, which in occult literature is called the most refined ether. Whence this etheric earth originated will be described in the next essays.

The astral human beings combine with this ether. They impress their nature upon this ether, in order that it can become a likeness of the astral human entity. In this initial condition we are dealing with an ether earth which really consists only of these ether men, which is only a conglomerate of them. Actually the astral body or the soul of man is for the most part still outside the ether body and organizes it from without. To the scientist of the spirit, the earth appears approximately as follows. It is a sphere which in turn is composed of innumerable small ether spheres — the ether men — and is surrounded by an astral envelope just as the present earth is surrounded by an envelope of air. It is in this astral envelope (atmosphere) that the astral men live and whence they act upon their ether likenesses. The astral human souls create organs in their ether likenesses and produce a human ether life in them. Within the whole earth there exists only one condition of matter, the refined living ether. In theosophical books this first humanity is called the first (the Polarean) root race.

The further development of earth takes place in such that from the one condition of matter there develop two. A denser substantiality is secreted, so to speak, and leaves a thinner one behind. The denser substantiality resembles our present air; the thinner one is that which causes chemical elements to develop from previously undifferentiated substance. Along with these, a remainder of the previous substantiality, the living ether, continues to exist. Only a part of it is transformed into the so-called material conditions. We now are dealing with three substances within the physical earth. While the astral human beings in the envelope of earth previously acted only upon one kind of substantiality, they must now act upon three. They act upon them in the following way: That which has become airlike at first resists their activity. It does not accept everything which is rudimentarily present in the complete astral men. As a consequence, astral humanity must divide itself into two groups. One group works on the air-like substantiality and creates in it a likeness of itself. The other group can do more. It can work on the two other substantialities; it can create a likeness of itself which consists of the living ether and of the other kind of ether which brings the elementary chemical substances into being. This ether will here be called the chemical ether. This second group of astral men has acquired its higher capacity, however, only by separating from itself a part of the astral nature — the first group — and condemning it to a lower kind of labor. Had it retained within itself the forces which accomplish this lower labor, it could not have risen higher itself. here we are dealing with a process which consists in the development of the higher at the expense of something else, which is separated from it.

Within the physical earth the following picture now presents itself. Two kinds of entities have come into being First, entities which have an airlike body on which the astral being belonging to it is working from the outside. These beings are animal-like. They form a first animal realm on earth. These animals have shapes which, were they to be described here, would strike mankind of today as very peculiar. Their shape — one must keep in mind that this shape is based only on an airlike substance — does not resemble any of the animal forms existing now. At most they have a remote similarity to the shells of certain snails and mussels which exist today. Beside these animal forms the development of physical man progresses. The astral man, who has now ascended higher, produces a physical likeness of himself which consists of the two kinds of matter, of the life ether and of the chemical ether. One thus deals with a man who consists of the astral body and is working himself into an ether body which in turn consists of two kinds of ether: life ether and chemical ether. Through the life ether this physical likeness of man is endowed with the capacity to reproduce itself, to cause beings of its own kind to emerge from it. Through the chemical ether it develops certain forces which are similar to the present forces of chemical attraction and repulsion. Thereby this likeness of man is in a position to attract certain substances from the environment and to combine them with itself, secreting them again later by means of the repelling forces. These substances, of course, can only be taken from the animal realm described above, and from the realm of man. This constitutes a beginning of nutrition. Thus these first likenesses of man were eaters of animals and of men.

Besides these beings, the descendants of the earlier beings, composed merely of life ether, continue to exist, but they become atrophied, since they have to adapt to the new terrestrial conditions. After they have undergone many transformations, the unicellular animal beings develop from them, and also the cells which later make up the more complicated living organisms.

The following process then takes place. The airlike substantiality divides itself into two, of which one becomes denser, watery, while the other one remains airlike. The chemical ether also divides itself into two conditions of matter; one of them becomes denser and forms that which we shall here call the light ether. It endows the entities which possess it with the gilt of luminosity. On the other hand, a portion of the chemical ether continues to exist as such.

We are now dealing with a physical earth which is composed of the following kinds of matter: water, air, light ether, chemical ether. and life ether. In order that the astral entities can act on these kinds of matter, another process takes place by which the higher develops at the expense of the lower, which becomes separated from it. Thereby physical entities of the following kind are produced. First, those whose physical body consists of water and air. Now coarse astral entities which have been split off, act on these. Thus a new group of animals of coarser materiality than the earlier ones is produced.

Another new group of physical entities has a body which consists of air and light ether mixed with water. These are plantlike entities, which however are very different in form from the plants of today. Finally, the third new group represents man of that period. His physical body consists of three kinds of ether: the light ether, the chemical ether, and the life ether. If one considers that descendants of the old groups also continue to exist, one can judge what a variety of living beings there already were at that stage of terrestrial existence.

[Separation Sun]

There now follows an important cosmic event. The sun is extruded. Thereby certain forces simply leave the earth. These forces are composed of a part of what hitherto had existed on earth in the life ether and in the chemical and light ether. These forces, so to speak, were withdrawn from the earth. A radical change thereby took place among groups of terrestrial beings which previously had contained these forces within themselves. They all suffered a transformation. Those which have been called plant beings above, first suffered such a transformation. A part of their light ether forces was taken from them. They could then develop as organisms only when the force of light, which had been withdrawn from them, acted upon them from the outside. Thus the plants came under the influence of the sunlight.

Something similar happened with human bodies. From then onward, their light ether also had to act together with the light ether of the sun in order to be capable of life. But not only those beings themselves which lost the light ether were affected; the others were affected too. For in the world everything interacts. Those animal forms, too, which did not contain light ether themselves had previously been irradiated by their fellow beings on earth and had developed under this irradiation. Now they also came under the immediate influence of the external sun.

The human body in particular developed organs receptive to the sunlight, that is, the first rudiments of human eyes.

The consequence of the extrusion of the sun was a further material densification of the earth. Solid matter developed from fluid; likewise the light ether separated into another kind of light ether, and into an ether which gives bodies the capacity to increase temperature. With this, the earth became an entity which developed heat within itself. All its beings came under the influence of heat. In the astral element a process similar to the previous ones again had to take place; some beings developed to a higher level at the expense of others. A group of beings split off which were well suited to work on coarse solid substantiality. With this there had developed the firm skeleton of the mineral realm of earth. At first the higher natural realms did not act upon this rigid mineral skeleton. Thus, on the earth there exist a mineral realm which is solid, and a plant realm which has water and air as its densest substantiality. In the latter realm, through the events we have described, the air body had become condensed to a water body. There also existed animals of the most varied forms, some with water and some with air bodies. The human body itself had become subject to a process of densification. It had condensed its most compact corporeality to the point of wateriness. The newly-developed heat ether coursed through this water body. This gave to his body a substantiality which could perhaps be called gas-like. This material condition of the human body is described in works on mystery science as that of the fire mist. Man was embodied in this body of fire mist.

With this, the examination of the Akasha Chronicle has reached a point shortly before the cosmic catastrophe caused by the extrusion of the moon from the earth.


The human being of the Polarian age was enveloped in a form of matter that was highly tenuous and indeed shadow-like. He had been developed according to the pitris - etheric. These ether human beings really looked oval, like an egg, and moved in a wholly etheric element. Our present-day senses would have been useless at that time. A sense to give orientation within the etheric matter was sufficient, and that was the sense of hearing. They had only this one sense, to perceive the movement of the ether matter, just as later on, in the sixth epoch the human being will hear the `trumpets' (Book of Revelation), that is, the sounds of the spheres. As matter condensed, a principle we must call temperature differences developed within matter. Movements were no longer regular, and this created denser and warmer areas.


During the epoch which preceded the Lemurian epoch, we have the Hyperborean epoch on Earth, that of the Sun Men, of the Apollo-Men. They were formed out of a still nobler and even more delicate substance.

Then we go still further back to the very first race, to the Polarian men. At that time they lived in the tropical polar climate, a race which was able to attain to special heights through the fact that a remarkable and great help had been granted them. The most beautiful of the Moon Pitris descended to the Earth.

The Polarian human beings were very similar to four-footed animals, but they were formed out of a soft, pliant substance similar to a jellyfish, but much warmer. The human beings with the best forms, consisting of the noblest components, received at that time help of a special nature, for beings were still connected with the Earth who had earlier reached a higher stage.


These three stages are reflected in the Postatlantean evolution of humankind. What took place on a grand scale during the evolution of the Earth (Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon) is reflected on a smaller scale in the Postatlantean age. We see how the external, cosmic processes of the so-called Polarian age are reflected in the first post-Atlantean culture, in the ancient Indian epoch.

During the Polarian age everything was inward, was within the warmth body of the Earth; and we see how the ancient Indians felt all of that in their inner lives. Therefore, their feeling life did not look out into cosmic spaces. They felt themselves rather as one with Brahman.

The Polarian age was followed by the Hyperborean age, with a race of human beings who had airlike bodies. The sun had separated from the earth and now worked from outside. This separation was reflected in the ancient Persian cultural epoch when Zarathustra proclaimed Ahura Mazdao the spirit of the sun. The sun spirit was the guiding and leading principle of the ancient Persian cultural epoch.


The epoch when the sun left the Earth is called the Hyperborean age, and the epoch when the sun, moon and earth were still united is called the Polarian age.


... when it began the sun was still united with the Earth. Somewhat figuratively we have grown accustomed to call this epoch the Polarian human race. It is difficult to form any idea of this epoch. Then during the withdrawal of the sun comes the race of the Hyperboreans; then, during the exit of the moon, a third, the so-called Lemurian human race


.. when you go on to the primeval forms, to the original mountains, you have the Polarean age. The Palaeozoic corresponds to the Hyperborean age, but you may not take the individual animal forms pedantically.


Note about timing of separation of the Sun

A description of the Earth is given below before the Separation of Sun. The separation of the Sun is described only in one reference by Rudolf Steiner to have taken place at the start of the Hyperborean epoch, without further specification (1905-03-18-GA090B).

This might well place the description below also as to describe the Polarian epoch:

  • The Earth, sun and moon, if observed from outside, would have looked like a gigantic brain but softer and slimier, a body filled with life that consisted of millions of interlaced soft oysters that reproduced con­stantly. Each huge oyster reproduced very quickly and generated an offspring of upto a million of its own descendants in a very short time. The older ones dissolved again. (1922-09-27-GA347)
  • For a description of these huge oysters, see also Earth and nature in the Lemurian epoch - before separation Moon. The description given there is not timed explicitly, but described as 'before the Separation of Moon' and after separation of the Sun, and so flows from the Hyperborean into the Lemurian epoch.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Andreas Delor (publisher) and Pascale Aeby (1966-2012)
    • Delor published 8 volumes of over 3900 pages in total, the first five focus on Atlantis, volumes 6 and 7 are on Lemuria, and volume 8 is on the first two epochs, the Hyperborean and Polarian.
    • Atlantis: nach neuesten hellsichtigen und wissenschaftlichen Quellen (8 volumes)
      • Band 8 - Die Hyperboräische- und Polarische-Epoche (2016)