The two etheric streams
Creation uses a myriad of different forces and substances, that have been created by the various spiritual hierarchies in previous planetary stages, thus providing the foundation of forces and substances from and with which form and life have been generated.
The fundamental principle of such creation consists of two streams of opposing influences by different spiritual entities, whereby the substance from the sacrifice of a higher spiritual entity is the basis for a new creation by the lower spiritual hierarchies (see Schema FMC00.291 below)
Two different streams meet, two whirling flows in opposition, one upward and one downward, with difference velocities .. and this provides the key to condensation of matter into forms. The fusion of two spiral vortices is what condenses to matter, and is related to the difference in speed of these two streams or spiritual influences. (see Schema FMC00.051 below)
The spiritual influences underlying the two streams can be described in various ways or different language:
- referring to the influences they represent, as the etheric streams or spiralling 'wavefronts' - even if underneath are spiritual beings.
- using symbolic spiritual nomenclature, eg with the representaties of the streams (Jehovah, Lucifer, ..) - see the topic Lucifer and Jehovah
- in the language of the spheres (sun, moon, stars ..): the Earth being between the Sun and Moon - see the famous Emerald Table quote on References to the concept of Golden Chain
- Franz Bardon, in Initiation into Hermetics (see Theory section Discussion), describes this as the coming together of what he calls, by metaphoric analogy, the electric (fire or warmth-based) and magnetic (water-based) fluids .. coming together in the tetrapolar magnet (whereby the various etheric formative forces and elements fuse)
- compare also with Ida and Pingala characteristics on the Kundalini page
- in fact many descriptions of these two opposing whirling or spiralling streams abound from various authors, such as C.G. Harrison (lectures, 1893), William Butler Yeats (A Vision, 1925), Walter Russell (1926, 1947, 1953), Dr. Randolph Stone (polarity), upto the artwork of Hilma Af Klint, see the essay The Second Lawfullness (DL 2014)
- the macroscopic formation in the cosmos, see eg the formation of Planets, and the vortices in astronomical Nebulae such as the Orion nebula (quotes of 1906)
Schema FMC00.051 groups the illustrations from two main lectures by Rudolf Steiner in 1920-21. See also the work Lawrence Edwards, for example as described in the essay 'The second Lawfulness'.
FMC00.272 shows various illustrations from the work of Walter Russell, describing the formation of mass from a vortex formed by two opposing spiral streams.
FMC00.324 is an illustration from 'Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians' (1780s), showing the four elements and the converging triangles on the left, and the relation with polarity: creating make and female from the Sun and the Moon.
FMC00.291 provides explanatory background for the principle of the two opposing streams as per FMC00.051
FMC00.291A is a study meta schema (click to enlarge, download and print) showing an overview of relation to various perspectives, with pointers to other topic schemas (that can be printed off for study and integration mentally). See Discussion area below for a more in depth coverage.
FMC00.271 illustrates contemporary astronomical observation of two spiral streams colliding in a newly formed star system.
Lecture coverage and references
From the hermetic Emerald Table, see also: References to the concept of the Golden Chain
Its Father is the Sun; its Mother is the Moon; the Wind carries it in its womb; and its nurse is the Earth. This Thing is the Father of all perfect things in the world. Its power is most perfect when it has again been changed into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the gross, but carefully and with great judgment and skill. It ascends from earth to heaven, and descends again, new born, to the earth, taking unto itself thereby the power of the Above and the Below. Thus the splendor of the whole world will be thine, and all darkness shall flee from thee. This is the strongest of all powers, the Force of all forces, for it overcometh all subtle things and can penetrate all that is solid. For thus was the world created, and rare combinations, and wonders of many kinds are wrought.
Two etheric fronts - two key lecture references
To introduce the core or central theme of this post, an extract from this Hieroglyph lecture 14 of 1920-05-14-GA201, where Steiner describes how the form of the human heart is the result of the interaction of two opposing flows=
Here lies the cosmic aspect of something tremendously significant in regard to the understanding of Man and the Universe. ... Everywhere the events that happen are explainable through the union of two streams, arising from different sources."
Here, let us say, a certain movement occurs (arrow pointing downwards), i.e. a flow takes place with a certain velocity; and the stream then fuses with another stream — it must be assumed that the other flow is going not in the same but in the opposite direction (arrow upwards). The two streams flow therefore into one another. Or .. imagine a wind whirling with a certain velocity from above downwards, and another from below upwards, and they whirl into one another. If we take the difference of velocity between the downward and the upward current, relating the latter to the former in such a way that a difference in velocity results bearing the same relationship as the difference in velocity between the stellar time and the solar time, then through the rotation a condensation arises which receives its own distinct form. One whirls downwards, and because the other whirls upwards driving with a greater velocity, the lesser velocity would be that driving downwards, which gives here (see diagram) through the collision, a condensation, a certain figure. This figure, disregarding imperfections, is a silhouette of the human heart.
Thus, through the meeting of the Lucifer stream (ed: Sun) and the Jehovah stream (ed: speed of moon and stars), it is possible to construct exactly the figure of the human heart. It is constructed simply out of the revelations of the Universe. The Sun-movement is an expression of a slower movement which meets a quicker movement, and we are so inserted into the two movements that the silhouette of our heart arises; and on to it the rest of the human form is fitted.
and he continues:
Here we see the gradual divergence of the solar and the stellar astronomy. As we have seen, if we have one astronomy only, everything falls into confusion. We can only reach a right understanding if, not limited to one astronomy, we say: On the one hand we have the starry system which, in a certain respect, contains within it the Moon; and on the other, the system to which the Sun belongs. They mutually interpenetrate. They work together. But we are wrong if we apply the same law to the two. When we realise that we have two quite different astronomies, we shall say: The cosmic happenings in which we are involved have two origins, but we are so placed that these two streams flow together in us. They fuse in us human beings.
And then there is 1921-04-12-GA313:
What happens when these processes, which are quite normal in origin — processes like eating, digesting, working through the food in the abdomen, passing it on to the head, etc. — continue beyond the limit normally set by man's organization. In the undernourished person, because of the irregularity arising below, and in the over-nourished person, because of the irregularity above, there results an abnormal cooperation between the two kinds of ether.
The ethers do not cooperate as they are supposed to in the human organism. And we get the following results when the ether acting from outside cooperates in the wrong way with the ether streaming upward from within.
Every ether that works from outside and does not stop at the right place but permeates the human more strongly than it should is poison for the organism; it has a poisonous effect. Thus we can say that if the ether is not held up at the right place, it is poisonous for the human organization. It must encounter the ether streaming up from within in the right way.
Again, if we look at the other kind of ether that works from within, we find that its excessive action has an overall softening effect on the human being. While in the opposite case the poisonous effect makes the human being etherically rigid, this other effect makes him dissolve. Too much life is poured out over him, and too much of the chemical pole. He cannot subsist, and he grows soft. These are two polar effects: the poisonous effect and the softening effect.
If you regard the human being in this way, you are led to ask, “What is a human being really?” In so far as he is physical, he is an organic being who keeps apart, in the proper way, the two kinds of ether and lets them cooperate in the right way. The entire human organization is constituted so as to allow the two kinds of ether to cooperate in the right way.
We are now able to understand better my statement that the human being is thoroughly organized. Indeed, it is obvious that he is inwardly differentiated — which is to say, organized — with respect to water, to air, and to warmth.
and now comes the relevant part:
He is also differentiated with regard to the ethers, but this differentiation is a fluctuating one. It is a continual occurrence, a continual interplay between
- light and warmth ethers on the one hand, pressing centripetally from above downward, and
- life and chemical ethers on the other hand, pressing centrifugally from below upward.
By this means the etheric configuration of the human being is formed. It is actually a transformation of the vortex formed by the mutual impact of these two kinds of ether. The shape that you encounter must be understood then, as a cooperation between these two kinds of ether.
Once your attention is raised you see this description in more places, eg in the following quote in the development of the chakras or astral senses in 1904-12-15-GA053
.. in order to awaken in the soul world, one must have sense organs for this soul world just as one has sense organs for the material world. Like the body possesses eyes and ears, the soul and the spirit must possess organs to perceive the radiance of the soul realm and the soundings of the world of spirit.
A person with experience in this field, who is clairvoyant, can actually perceive the process of development of such soul organs in a person engaged in inner training. They are perceived in his aura enveloped in a cloud of light. The aura of a spiritually undeveloped person is seen like a nebulous cloud formation. When a person sleeps, the aura hovers above the physical body because the astral body separates in sleep from it. The aura's appearance is that of two entwined spirals like rings of mist. They wind around one another and disappear in continuous spirals into indefinable realms.
When a person undertakes occult training, his aura becomes increasingly definable. The indefinable ends of the spirals disappear and the two entwined spiral formations become clearly organized. They become increasingly defined, compact structures. Certain organs appear in the aura that are called chakrams in esoteric language. These are the sense organs of the soul.
Or especially also 1910-12-12-GA124 (SWCC)
If a person stands before us .. a being has two legs and a human countenance .. we have only one termof expressing ourselves, we say there is a human being .. but we have merely Maya before us.
What is a human being to spiritual science? Nothing but Maya! He or she is about the same as a rainbow, which lasts only so long as the necessary relationships between rain and sunshine exist. When these relationships change, the rainbow disappears.
A human being is only the streaming together of forces of the macrocosm, forces we find in the heavens, here or there in the macrocosm. Where we usually assume a human being somewhere on earth, there is nothing for the spiritual scientist.
In fact, forces stream down from above and up from below and intersect. Then, just as the peculiar relationship of rain and sunshine produces the rainbow, so forces streaming out of the macrocosm from above and below result in the phenomenon that looks like a human being.
People are nothing as they stand before us. In truth, they are a phantom, Maya, an illusion. It is the cosmic forces, intersecting where our eyes think they see a human being, that are real. Try to take the statement seriously that a human being, as he or she stands before us, is nothing but the shadow of many forces. The being who reveals himself in a person can easily be elsewhere than at that point where the individual in question is walking around on two legs.
Last, concerning the heart, in 1923-07-29-GA291, in a more alchemical language:
Moreover, mankind today can scarcely understand anything of the way in which ancient mystery-teachers spoke to their pupils. For when a man today wants to explain the human heart, he takes an embryo and sees how the blood-vessels expand, a utricle or bag appears and the heart is gradually formed. Well, that is not what the ancient mystery-teachers told their pupils. .. On the contrary they emphasized something else as of paramount importance. ... They said: the human heart is a product of gold, which lives everywhere in light, and which streams in from the universe and shapes the human heart. You have had the representation. Light quivers through the universe, and the light carries gold. Everywhere in light there is gold. Gold lives and moves in light. And when man lives on earth — you know already that it changes after seven years — [his heart is not composed of the cucumber and the salad and the roast veal the man has in the meantime eaten, but these old teachers knew that the heart is built of light's gold, and the cucumbers and the salad] are only the stimulus for the gold weaving in the light to build up the heart out of the whole universe.
Two different speeds
In lecture 12 of 1920-05-08-GA201 this difference is speed between Sun and Moon is covered.
As the above is such a key topic in Steiner's lectures, we add the rephrased version (as the 'Lucifer and Jehovah' topic) from the above lecture 14 of 1920-05-14-GA201 where he summarizes as follows:
.. it is Jehovah who brings it about that the sun lingers behind the stars and, with the force which the Sun thus kept back, He fashioned the human form, which is His earthly image.
Thus the stars run their course quickly, the Sun more slowly, and so a slight difference arises which, according to these ancient Mysteries, was that which produced the human form.
Man is born out of time, he is so born that he owes his existence to the difference in velocity between the cosmic day of the stars and the cosmic day of the Sun.
In the lecture of 1911-12-30-GA314 (see the section before and after Diagram 3), is described how physical matter is 'like the final part of a wave that has ran out of spiritual energy, like a wave that crashes at the shore', or rephrased 'a spiritual energy wave breaks down into matter, like we see on the beach a wave exhausted, break on the shore'. (SWCC)
.. and now we must at the same time bear in mind that not only we ourselves but all outer objects that come to meet us, and of which we are aware in the outer world by means of our senses, are nothing less than an external expression of an inner spiritual. Behind every external material thing in space we have to look for something similar in kind to what lives in our own soul. Only we do not encounter it with the outer senses; it is behind what the outer senses offer. Behind the matter we see lies a supersensible, which has come to the limit of its activity and there split up. But before it split up it still had - inward and spiritual form. When it shattered the spiritual form went on working in the separate scattered ruins. Where it works strongly, after the breaking and scattering, the lines of the spiritual forms continue, and in the lines they then describe we can still trace an after-working of the spiritual lines. There you have the origin of crystals. Crystals are reproductions of spiritual forms which through their own impetus still kept their original direction but in the opposite sense.
The lecture of 1912-04-08-GA136 describes how we the physical planets in our solar system relate to the spiritual spheres: a physical planet emerges at the boundary of two opposing spiritual influences. (SWCC)
Let us suppose that we had at point S the center-point of the spiritual Council of the Spirits of Form; the Spirit of Form working upon Saturn would call forth this etheric globe, so that by the agency of this Spirit of Form a flattened globe would arise, as in the diagram. At an outermost point of this etheric globe, in opposition to the Spirit of Form working from the center of the Sun works the rebel, the Luciferic Spirit of Form. He works from without inwards; opposingly. Thus we have
- the normal Spirit of Form working outwards from the Sun, centrifugally; he brings about the occult Saturn, which is then to he seen as a mighty etheric globe with its center-point in the Sun.
- At the periphery, working inwards from cosmic space, is an abnormal Spirit of Form who has cut himself off from the normal evolution of the others;
and at point (a) through the combined working of the forces working inwards from cosmic space, and those others working outwards from the sun, there occurs an “inturning,” which finally becomes detached, and that is the physical planet Saturn.
Thus we have to imagine that where our physical eyes place the planet Saturn, there are two forces working together;
- the one, the, normal force of the Spirit of Form working outward from the Sun;
- and at a definite point in opposition works the detached Spirit of Form.
This produces an “in-turned” structure; the ether is notched, and this notch appears to the physical eye as the physical planet Saturn.
Just the same occurs with the other planets. Hence arises what we call “maya,” the great illusion. Where physical astronomy places a planet, there is a combined working of two forces. Only because a great etheric heavenly body is there, which through the contact of these opposing forces, is dented in and has a notch formed in one place, does the appearance of the physical planet arise.
Indeed we have to do with a turning in, and to be really accurate the matter must in the first place be described as the figure.
The SoF working from the Sun extended the etheric substance to a certain distance; there worked the abnormal SoF in opposition, and caved the substance in, so that in reality a hollow was made in the etheric substance. As regards the original etheric substance of the planet, where the physical eye believes it sees the planet there is really nothing; the actual planet is where the physical eye sees nothing. That is the peculiarity of 'maya': here the physical planet is seen, there is a hollow.
One may say: “It is a strange idea that where the physical planet is to be seen, there is a hollow,” for you will ask about our Earth and say “We know quite well that we are walking on firm, solid earth". Our Earth also is a sort of flattened (editor: etheric) sphere having its central point in the Sun, with also such a notch or hollow on the outermost rim. But indeed where the planets are, there would have to be solid filling, not hollow. And nevertheless where you walk about on our Earth — where, in the sense of Maya-perception you believe yourselves to be walking on solid, firm ground — even then, in reality, you are walking about on a hollow. Our Earth itself, in so far as it is an accumulation of matter, is a hollow in cosmic space, something bored into cosmic space.
All physical matter comes into being through the meeting together of forces coming from the Spirits of Form. In this case we have the meeting of the forces of the normal Spirits of Form and those of the abnormal Spirits of Form. They collide with one another and in reality an indentation is produced and consequently at this point a simultaneous breaking up of the form, but only of the form. The form breaks up and this hollow space is bored. Now broken spiritual form, crushed form, is in reality matter. In a physical sense matter only exists when spiritual forms are broken up. Thus the planets out there are also broken-up forms.
Interpretation: consider the picture above once more: we see the spherical form of a physical planetary body, embedded in a broader sphere of spiritual influences. We appreciate this is all just symbolic 'presentation-ware', that is: a simple conceptual drawing to explain a more complex reality.
It is striking that, when we consider the time it takes for a planet to complete one orbit, we are hereby describing a characteristic of the spiritual mechanism, like (to use a metaphor from mathematics) an ‘eigenvalue’ or characteristic value for the cyclic pattern. And we are not far from thinking in terms of astrological influences of the spheres.
Contemporary astronomical observations
2020-05-20 the world news announced the first image of the birth of a new planet. The observations and study of a young star system, called AB Aurigae in the constellation Auriga, were published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
In the images captured by ESO's telescope, the young star AB Aurigae is surrounded by a dense disc with spirals of dust and gas. A detail within this swirl is the key to this discovery: The slight twist in the swirling disc is a telltale sign of a baby planet being formed.
Scientists first observed hints of this planetary birth a few years ago with Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. This instrument revealed two spiral arms near the young star, within the inner region of its surrounding disk. However, scientists needed a clearer image of the star system in order to capture the disk in detail and know exactly what they were observing. In late 2019 and early 2020, the team of astronomers conducted follow-up observations of AB Aurigae using VLT, providing the deepest images of the star system to date.
From CBS news:
This image shows the disc around the young AB Aurigae star, where ESO's Very Large Telescope has spotted signs of planet birth. The image was obtained with the VLT's SPHERE instrument in polarised light. ...
The deepest images of the system to date, taken using the SPHERE instrument on the VLT, show a stunning swirl around AB Aurigae, signaling the presence of a baby planet "twisting, swirling and "kicking" to create "disturbances in the disc in the form of a wave, somewhat like the wake of a boat on a lake," said co-author Emmanuel Di Folco of the Astrophysics Laboratory of Bordeaux (LAB) in France. The spiral is created as the planet rotates around the central star.
"The twist is expected from some theoretical models of planet formation," said co-author Anne Dutrey, also at LAB.
"It corresponds to the connection of two spirals — one winding inwards of the planet's orbit, the other expanding outwards — which join at the planet location. They allow gas and dust from the disc to accrete onto the forming planet and make it grow."
and from the official abstract news announcement:
With the recent discovery from ALMA of two gaseous spiral arms inside the ∼120 au cavity, connected to dusty spirals, the famous protoplanetary disk around AB Aurigae presents a strong interest to investigate the mechanisms leading to giant planet formation. A candidate protoplanet located inside a spiral arm has been claimed from the same ALMA data.
We used SPHERE at the VLT to perform near-IR high contrast imaging of AB Aur in polarized and unpolarized light, in order to study the morphology of the disk and to search for signs of planet formation.
SPHERE delivered the deepest images ever obtained for AB Aur in scattered light. Among the many structures yet to be understood, we identified not only the inner spiral arms, but we also resolved a feature in the form of a twist in the eastern spiral at a separation of about 30 au. The twist of the spiral is perfectly reproduced with a planet-driven density wave model when projection effects are accounted for. We measured an azimuthal displacement with respect to the counterpart of this feature in the ALMA data, which is consistent with Keplerian motion on a 4-yr baseline. Another point source is detected near the edge of the inner ring, which is likely the result of scattering as opposed to the direct emission from a planet photosphere. We tentatively derived mass constraints for these two features.
The twisted spiral pattern and its apparent orbital motion could well be the first direct evidence of a site of protoplanet formation.
Schema FMC00.291: Densification - the evolutionary process 'downwards'
The process describes on this page applies to Earth, and gives an explanation for the formation of matter.
However this principle can already be described on the previous planetary incarnations or evolutionary stages.
See 1909-04-13-GA110 and 1909-04-17-GA110 on Overview influences of the spiritual hierarchies, as illustrated by Schema FMC00.291 above.
Study meta schema FMC00.291A
Note that in the below, direct hyperlinks are given to the related schemas. From the bottom of each schema page one can browse to the contextual topic page - often a single schema is or can be used in various contexts. For more info on the meta schemas, see FMC study schemas
What the schema shows
Schema FMC00.291 illustrates the fundamental principle of creation, and is taken here as central to position the formative principle between higher ethers and elements (FMC00.194), and the condensation into ever denser substance during the first four planetary stages.
Study and contemplation of this schema can be approached from various angles:
- a) how this fundamental principle of creation is based on the cooperation between the various spiritual hierarchies in various stages of development (FMC00.077A), and the sacrifice of one higher hierarchy that gives rises to a new creation benefiting all hierarchies below (FMC00.187).
- b) specifically for Earth and all mineral physical matter: the spiritual formative principle underlying the creation of substance (FMC00.051) – compare a.o. with the formative forces of the etheric layers of the earth (FMC00.003 and FMC00.003A)
- c) concretely, the ‘implementation’ or ‘workings’ of the above on our current Earth consists of, or takes place through, elementals (building material frozen into matter) and the spirits of the elementary kingdoms (formative etheric forces) (FMC00.142A).
It also links to schemas that are not shown:
- Schema FMC00.149
- Schema FMC00.225 is on Spectrum of elements and ethers
- Schema FMC00.276 is on Overview of solar system evolution
Further study homework - Study schema FMC00.291B
.. has not been uploaded yet to the site. It is a 'teaser' for the learning process, after having studied FMC00.291A, to allow the student some homework based on a question.
The question is as follows. In Schema FMC00.291A, an important aspect has been left out. What is it?
The answer is given here in the form of a topic for personal study and investigation. Consider the following:
 - formation of a physical planet involves two opposing spiritual wavefronts, one of them being abnormal spirits, see the GA136 reference on FMC00.271A above, showing
 - study the Lucifer and Jehovah topic, as well as:
- the section 'Two different speeds' in the Lecture references section above
- the section 'Two astronomies' on Christ Module 11 - A new physics
 - now with the above perspective, re-consider the 'Two etheric streams' and Schema FMC00.291. This was with 'normal' spiritual hierarchies, and not the 'abnormal' ones.
Task: build an understanding integrating  to .
See also Nietzsche in 'Thus spoke Zarathustra'
The heart of the Earth is of gold.
or by Johanna von Keyselinck who reports a conversation with Rudolf Steiner in 'Birth of a new agriculture':
We know that at the moment when Christ's blood flowed down onto the earth at Golgotha a new sun-globe was born in the earth's interior.
My search had always been directed to the study of the earth's depths, for I had seen a golden kernel light up within the earth—named by Ptolemy the primeval sun. These golden depths I could only connect with that land which Rudolf Steiner said had been hidden from the sight of man, and that Christ would open the gates in order to lead those who seek for it to the submerged fairy-tale land of Shamb-halla, of which the Indians dream.
What I had experienced had been so real—and yet I did not want to lapse into fantasies. I had written down my questions. Rudolf Steiner read them out aloud:
... [section ommitted] .. The kernel of the earth consists of golden fire—around which a dark girdle is cast—the smoke of the mineral realm.'
Rudolf Steiner paused once more: 'What you have written is correct,' then he continued to read:
... [section ommitted]
I: 'And is the interior of the earth made out of that gold which comes from the hollow cavity in the sun and which is destined to return there?'
Rudolf Steiner: 'Yes, the interior of the earth is of gold.'
References and further reading
- Walter Russell
- The universal one(1926)
- The secret of light (1947)
- A new concept of the universe (1953)
- Lawrence Edwards: The vortex of life (1993)
- essay from blog post BP04 by DL in 2014: 'The Second Lawfullness' - see Essay section