Q00.005 - How to understand the impact of the higher ethers for Man

From Anthroposophy



MoG brough back the chemical and life ether

Man currently has his I-consciousness in the warmth element, one can say it is 'mineral' consciousness.

The higher ethers relate to the plant and animal kingdoms


Schema FMC00.198 follows from considering that




There is an affinity between (see also SchemaFMC00.142F)

  • Man's I-organisation and the mineral element,
  • Man's astral body, and the formative forces that work as a second elementary kingdom in the plant kingdom
  • Man's etheric body, and the beings of the third elementary kingdom, the builders of forms in animal kingdom

1920-09-03-GA199 has

Just as our etheric body is predisposed to assume all animal shapes, … Our physical body merely prevents us from turning into all these shapes. Therefore, we can say that we carry the entire animal kingdom within our etheric body. We are human only in our physical body. ..

.. there flows all around us the same complex of forces that creates the plant forms. Just as our etheric body is predisposed to assume all animal shapes, our astral body is inclined to reproduce all the plant forms. Here it is already more pleasant to make comparisons, for, while the etheric body is imbued with the tendency to become a donkey when it sees one, the astral body wishes merely to become the thistle on which the donkey feeds. But this astral body is definitely ensouled with the tendency to accommodate itself to those forces that find their external expression in the plant forms. Thus we may say that the astral body reacts to the complex of forces that shapes the plant kingdom. ..

.. the mineral kingdom is a force complex that develops the various shapes of this specific realm. This acts within our I. It is quite evident in the case of the I, for you only think in terms of the mineral realm. It has been reiterated time and again that the intellect can only grasp the inanimate. Hence, what is contained in the human I understands the lifeless. Consequently, our I dwells in the complex of forces that creates the mineral kingdom. …

.. We need the insight into the fact that the human being is bound up with his etheric body through the animal kingdom, with the astral body through the plant world, and with the ego through the mineral realm. ..

Note that in an essay about the human aura in the 'Metaphysical Review' of 1897, an unknown writer talks about the results of his own clairvoyant investigations. After dealing with the aura of the etheric body and of the astral body, he continues as follows:

The fourth principle, man's lower Manas (intellect), appears over Kama and creates plenty of wonderful phenomena, enveloped by a starry dome, an etheric world, in which all crystal forms known to science are represented. [... it is further elaborated, that the aura of the lower Manas had its force centers outside of the brain, but at the same time, it builds the fine forms of the etheric brain and works within it]


.. One often believes, that within the purely intellectualistic striving too, perhaps the living element may be seized again; but this only happens because one does not recognize that the intellect in the inner world and the inanimate in the external world, belong together. ..

1923-12-30-GA323 talks about the fact that the forces that Man uses for his intellect are the same forces of the mineral kingdom, here with a link with the salt process. The salt process was used for Man's thinking in the middle ages, see Schema FMC00.154 in Alchemy.

.. if through initiation, we have attained to imaginative cognition and are able to perceive the I-organisation of Man, then we may ask ourselves: With what portion of the human organism (in its present state) does this I-organisation stand in especially near relation?

This I-organisation stands in a special relation with all that is mineral in the human being. Hence when you receive into yourself some essentially mineral substance, — for example, when you take some salt on your tongue — it is the I-organisation in you that immediately pounces upon this mineral substance ... and as the substance is carried further into the body, all the while, — even when the salt substance is in the stomach — the I-organisation remains with it. The salt goes further, undergoes various changes, passes through the intestines, never once does the I-organisation leave hold of her salt.

They behave like two closely related things, two things that belong to one another: the I-organisation, and the salt that enters the human being. ..

… That is the essential nature of the I-organisation that it takes up into itself what is mineral and completely changes it from within, converting it into something altogether different."

Maximilian Rebholz writes about coming to table Schema FMC00.198, after considering that the warmth stream on Old Saturn was not fully re-spiritualized by the Archai, and how this part 'fell down' into a lower kingdom, giving rise to substance (see Rebholz quote on Old Saturn). See also FMC00.194 on Spectrum of elements and ethers

.. a brief comment should be added here in parentheses, regarding the genesis of the four types of ether. Whilst both above-mentioned sources state explicitly that the [editor: life] ether is a densified sacrificial substance of the Spirits of Wisdom, we find at other places descriptions related to the emergence of the four ether types, according to which these ether types flow forth from a splitting of the original Old Saturn-warmth. According to these descriptions, a part of the Old Saturn warmth became condensed, at the beginning of the Old Sun evolution, into a gaseous state, whilst another part thereof refined itself and turned into light-ether. From that latter part, the chemical ether separated as a counter-image to the densification of the substance into a watery state on the Old Moon, and likewise, the life-ether arose as a counter-image to the emergence of the solid state on the Earth.

Of course, both descriptions have to to be compatible with one another. Their synthesis seems to consist in that the refined part of the Old Saturn warmth became the bearer of the substance of the Spirits when it flowed in, and now both became combined with each other, giving rise to the light ether. Accordingly, the same would apply for the emergence of the chemical ether and the life ether. The newly added ether 'incarnated', to a certain extent, in the refined part of the one right below it.

If we now compare both streams of elementary kingdoms:

  • on the one hand, the normally advanced elementary kingdom, which is active as forces;
  • and on the other hand, the one which remained behind and became matter [editor: or better 'substance'] (astral matter, etheric matter, physical matter), then interesting and revealing relationships come to light.

Let us recall, that

  • the first elementary kingdom works as formative forces of the mineral forms;
  • the normally developed second elementary kingdom acts as formative forces in the etheric;
  • the normally developed third elementary kingdom clothes itself in the soul sheaths of the astral bodies and other structures of the astral world; and
  • the fourth elementary kingdom (the human Self) as a thinking being, imprints its ideas and images in the substance of the mental body.