The three Logoi

From Anthroposophy

Creation. God. That is what this page is all about.

What lies at the origin of it all, of the cosmos and the whole of creation? Not just the physical but the spiritual cosmos and creation.

Short introductory explanation

See schema FMC00.060 below. First there was the Logos, pure spiritual light. Now one could say, something happened, or it is an intrinsic property, that out of pure love, the First Logos wanted to sacrifice its own being to give it to its mirror image created. This mirror image is the Second Logos.

The Second Logos now has a duality. It has the reflected image of the First Logos (that it can shine back, so nothing new here), but it also has received and taken Life, and that is new, this gift of unconditional giving and sacrifice is called Love.

Through a second sacrifice or mirroring both Logoi and their relationship were again mirrored and this gave rise to the Third Logos.

The Third Logos now consists of the opposite of the outstreaming light, which is darkness; the opposite of love or the unconditional life received, which is absolute longing or desire; and thirdly the reflected mirror image again.

We see here a 'three-in-one' appearing . The three aspects of the Third Logos we call the gunas: Tamas, Rajas, and Sattwa.

From the schema, note that with the Third Logos 'the light shines back from the darkness'.

Longer explanation

  • Imagine you want, out of pure love, to sacrifice yourself to your mirror image. Give up your own existence (as spiritual light of the world, say ‘first logos’) and transfer it to your mirror image (call it ‘second logos’). The nature and life of the First Logos that gives itself in sacrifice is pure love.

Through this process the first Logos gets conscious awareness

  • The Second Logos has received and accepted this sacrifice from the first Logos and now consists of a duality of two things: life and content
    • 1) the reflected mirror image or content, and
    • 2) the existence it has received (and the ability to shine back to the first logos), which is something new that we call life.

The second Logos is the creative substance of Life.

  • Multiplicity in the cosmos comes through a further sacrifice wherein the above – including the relationship between the two Logoi - is mirrored. A Third Logos gets created and consists of a reflection of the two other Logoi and existing aspects.
    • 1) the mirror image or opposite of the first logos or light, hence: spiritual darkness. We call this aspect 'Tamas'
    • 2) the opposite of pure love and sacrifice, being: absolute desire. We call this aspect 'Rajas'
    • 3) the image of the first logos itself, we call this aspect 'Sattwa'.
    • Hence:
      • Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa are called the three Gunas in the Hindu Samkya system and are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita. They correspond to the three aspects in the third Logos. See more about their combinations in the Seven creative spirits

The Third Logos is life manifest in Form.


  • Consciousness, Life and Form are the three fundamental characteristics of evolution and map to the Three Logoi, see explanation above and Schema FMC00.064 below, see also 1903-10-30-GA090C and Three dimensions of evolution
  • The three outpourings are covered on Creation by the three logoi
    • the all pervading divine Trinity of Cosmic Being and Life creates for itself sheaths in the different planetary systems; the fixed stars of planetary systems move through space as the bodies of Divine Beings (1912-04-07-GA136)
  • With reference to the planes or worlds of consciousness: the First logos is on the mahapara-nirvana planes, the Second Logos is at para-nirvana, and the Third Logos starts its mirroring down from the Nirvana plane. See also Schema FMC00.062 on Creation by the three logoi
  • the radiations of the three Logoi: world-sound, world-light or picture, world-aroma .. their beginning and duration (1906-12-18-GA266/1, 1906-12-20 and 27-GA266/1 as well as 1907-02-11

Inspirational quotes


No one can really have an idea of the three Logoi unless higher consciousness has awakened in them. We can however prepare the soul for right vision in the future by evoking the right images


Schema FMC00.060 symbolizes the principle of the creative relationships of the Trinity and Three Logoi. At its foundation lies pure love and sacrifice.


Schema FMC00.064 provides a synthesis of a number of aspects of the Three Logoi and the three primal outstreamings:

Schema FMC00.171 starts with Unity, God, the divine Primal sea from which everything arises. See Force substance representation and Creation by the three logoi.


Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

Volume GA089 is the key one for this topic, it also has 1904-07-02-GA089, 1904-07-04-GA089 and 1904-07-07-GA089, and another undated private instruction.

Probably the very best reference lecture is 1904-11-10-GA089. This lecture and the one from the day before, 1904-11-09-GA089, are important for in-depth study. They are also examples showing how the contemporary published english translations do not contain what is in the original manuscripts and typoscripts. And with 11 different copies of those availalable for both lectures (see steinerdatenbank) , they are also case examples to show how certain editing sometimes makes erroneous changes.

Note: further coverage in the 1904-01 and 1904-02 lectures in GA090A

Reference extracts

1903-summer-GA089 also in GA088
1903/04-GA089 undated handwritten

... all conditions of form make up what is understood under the Third Logos, the 49 conditions of life represent the Second Logos, and the seven conditions of consciousness the First Logos


describes the origin and threefold nature of the human being as three breaths of the divine primal spirit, and goes on to describe the three Logoi.

1905-04-27-GA089 (for Jan Peelen)

1906-05-GA089 (for Edouard Schuré)

1908-05-18-GA103 GA103

Gospel of John: Lecture I: The Doctrine of the Logos


If in order to call forth such a concept as lives in the soul of the occultist when he looks up to the Seraphim, we try to grasp such means as can only be found in analogy, in considering people with a rich experience of life; we find that even in such persons nothing in their lives can in the very least help one to characterize the Trinity, which, as it were, appears above the Seraphim, as their highest being — as their Manas, Buddha and Atma.

In the course of human evolution there has unfortunately been much dispute over the cautious surmises with which the human mind has ventured to approach that which is above, in the spiritual worlds. Unfortunately, we may say; for it would be much more seemly if the human mind were not to try to describe beings of such sublimity with the concepts taken from ordinary life, nor by means of all sorts of analogies and comparisons; it would be more seemly for man to desire in deepest reverence to learn ever more fully, so that he might be able to form more approximate concepts. The various religions of the world have tried to give approximate concepts of what is Above, in many significant and speaking ideas; ideas which, to a certain extent do gain something special, in that they reach out beyond the individual life of man in the external sense-world. Naturally, we cannot by means of such ideas describe, even approximately, these exalted beings to whom we refer, but we can, to a certain extent, call up a conception of what is inexpressible, and should be veiled in holy mystery. For one ought not to approach these matters with mere human intellectual concepts obtained from the external world. Hence in the successive religions and conceptions of the world it was sought to characterize these things approximately and by faint indications; they drew near to what is so far above man and in its very nature mysterious, by an attempt at characterizing, or rather, by a giving of names.

The ancient Egyptians have, in their giving of names, made use of the concept of Child or Son — Father and Mother, as that which towers above individual man. Christianity endeavored in the succession of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to find a name for this Trinity. We may therefore say: “In the seventh place we should have to put the Holy Spirit, in the eighth place the Son and in the ninth the Father.

If therefore we look up to a being whose highest content disappears as in a spiritual Mystery we can say symbolically — Spirit, Son, and Father.

When we look up to such a being with occult vision we say to ourselves: just as when we look at man externally, regarding his physical body as his lowest principle, so among such beings, if we are to regard them as in any sense analogous, we have before us as their lowest principle the Spirit of Form; that is, a spirit which gives itself form, a spirit having form. We must therefore look upon that which is in this being as analogous to, or resembling the physical body of man; as something which has form. Just as we have something of form in this physical body of man as his lowest principle and as in this form, which in truth, as we encounter it, is obviously “Maya,” lives that which is a Spirit of Form — so that which appears to us when we direct our gaze into cosmic space and there perceive a planet — Mercury, Venus, Mars or Jupiter — is the external form of the Spirit of Form. It is that which belongs to the being of whom we have just spoken, as the physical body of man belongs to man. When we see man before us, his form expresses what lives in him as his higher principles — etheric body, astral body, sentient soul, etc. When we look at a planet its form expresses to us the work of the Spirits of Form. Just as behind the human form, behind the physical body, are the etheric body, astral body, sentient soul etc., so, behind the planet, belonging to it, are what we know as the Spirits of Motion, Wisdom, Will; Cherubim and Seraphim etc. If we wish to visualize the complete being of a planet in the sense of spiritual science, we must say: — The planet meets our perception in cosmic space when its physical being, given by the Spirit of Form shines forth; and it conceals from us, just as man conceals his higher principles from the physical gaze, all that rules within and around it, as beings of the higher hierarchies. Thus we rightly imagine such a planet as Mars, or Mercury, only when we first of all picture it in its physical form, and then think of it as surrounded and permeated by a spiritual atmosphere stretching out into infinity and having in the physical planet its physical form, the creation of the Spirit of Form — and as its spiritual environment the beings of the hierarchies. Only when we consider it thus do we conceive of the complete planet, as having the physical as a kernel in the center, and round it the spiritual sheaths which consist of the beings of the hierarchies. This will be considered more in detail in the following lectures, but to-day we may, in order to some extent to indicate the direction of our observations, give the following information revealed by occult investigation.

We have already pointed out that what we observe as the physical form of the planet is a creation of the Spirits of Form. Our Earth-form is also a creation of the Spirits of Form. Now with regard to our earth we know that it is never at rest; that this earth is in a state of perpetual inner change and movement. It will be remembered from the description given in the Akasha Chronicle that the external aspect of our earth to-day is quite different from what was presented, for example, at the time we call the Atlantean epoch. In this primeval Atlantean epoch the surface of the earth-globe, to-day covered by the Atlantic ocean, was a mighty continent; while where Europe, Asia and Africa are now situated, scarcely any continents were as yet formed. Thus the solid matter, the substance of the earth has been transformed by its inner motion. The earth-planet is in a continual state of inner motion. Consider, for instance, that what we know to-day as the island of Heligoland is but a small part of that land which in the ninth and tenth centuries still projected out into the sea. Although the periods during which the inner changes alter the earth's surface are comparatively great yet without going deeply into these matters, we can all say that our planet is in perpetual inner motion. Indeed, if we do not merely include the solid earth in the planet, but also the water and the air, then daily life teaches us that the planet is in inner motion. In the formation of clouds and rain, in all the phenomena of atmospheric conditions, in the rise and fall of the water, in all these we see the inner mobility of the planetary substance. That is a life of the planet. Just as the etheric body works in the life of the individual man, so does that which we designate as the Spirits of Motion work in the life of the planet. We may therefore say: The external form of the planet is the creation by the Spirits of Form. The inner livingness is regulated by the beings we call the Spirits of Motion or Movement. Now to the occultist, such a planet is in every way an actual being, a being regulating what goes on within it, according to thought. Not only is that which has just been described as inner vitality present in the planet but the planet as a whole has consciousness, for it is indeed a being. This consciousness which corresponds to the consciousness of man, to the lower form of consciousness — the subconsciousness in the astral body — is regulated in the planet by the Spirits of Wisdom. We may therefore say: The lowest consciousness of the planet is regulated by the Spirits of Wisdom. In thus describing the planet, we still refer to the planet itself. We look up to the planet saying: It has a definite form, that corresponds to the Spirits of Form; it has an inner mobility, that corresponds to the Spirits of Motion. All this is permeated by consciousness, which corresponds to the Spirits of Wisdom. Now let us follow the planet further. It passes through space; it has an inner impulse which drives it through space, just as man has an inner impulse of will which causes him to take steps, to walk along in space. That which leads the planet through space, which governs its movement through space and causes it to revolve around the fixed star, corresponds to the Spirits of Will, or Thrones. Now if these Spirits of Will were only to give the impulse of motion to the planet, every planet would go its own way through the universe; but this is not the case, for every planet acts in conformity with the whole system. The motion is not only so regulated that the planet moves, but it is brought into due order with the whole planetary system. Just as due order is brought let us say, to a group of people, of whom one goes in one direction and another in another to reach a common goal — the movements of the planets are also so arranged that they harmonize. The harmony of movement between one planet and another corresponds to the activity of the Cherubim. The regulation of the combined movements of the system is the work of the Cherubim. Each planetary system with its fixed star, which is in a sense the Commander-in-Chief under the guidance of the Cherubim, is again related to the other planetary systems to which other fixed stars belong. These systems mutually arrange their positions in space with due regard to the neighboring systems, just as individual persons agree together, deliberate with one another with regard to their common action. Just as men found a social system by virtue of this reciprocity, so is there also a reciprocity of the planetary systems. Mutual understanding prevails between one fixed star and another. By this means alone does the cosmos come into existence. That which, so to speak, the planetary systems discuss with one another in cosmic space in order to become a cosmos is regulated by those beings we call the Seraphim.

[Sheats of Highest Trinity are the planetary systems]

We have now, as it were, exhausted what we find in man, as far as the consciousness soul. Just as in man we ascend to his higher spirit-nature, to that which alone gives meaning to the whole system up to the consciousness soul, so if we ascend above the Seraphim we come to what we tried to describe today as the Highest Trinity of Cosmic Being; we come to that which governs in the Universe as the All-pervading, Divine, Threefold Divine Life, Which creates for Itself sheaths in the different Planetary Systems. Just as that which lives in Man as Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man, (Manas, Buddhi, Atma), creates sheaths in the consciousness soul, intellectual soul, and sentient soul, astral, etheric, and physical bodies: so do the Fixed Stars of planetary systems move through space as the bodies of Divine Beings. Inasmuch as we contemplate the life of the world of Stars, we contemplate the bodies of the Gods, and finally of the Divine in general.


Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts A Christmas Study: The Mystery of the Logos


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References and further reading