The two halves of an evolutionary cycle

From Anthroposophy

This page should be considered together with: Overlapping evolutionary periods

The great cosmic dynamic is characterized by cycles, that can be imagined to correspond with a cosmic inhalation and exhalation by spiritual beings at a certain level. These cycles and levels are nested and this leads to the Three dimensions of evolution with Conditions of Consciousness (CoC), Life (CoL) and Form (CoF).

Considering for example two CoL - see Schema FMC00.240A below) - each mantavara evolutionary cycle between two pralayas is characterized by a quite different nature in its two different halves.

  • The first half corresponds to a cosmic exhalation part where the spiritual hierarchies 'give' and actively weave in consecutive layers as part of creation. Beings at a lower level receive.
  • The other half corresponds to a cosmic inhalation, whereby what has been created is left to its own development. This causes a contribution, metamorphosis, and redemption of what was received: they give to the received the contributions of their own evolution. All of it is then 'rolled up' or sucked in again, in to the higher budhi and nirvana planes at pralaya.

This can be seen as two aspects of an earth day, as in day and night, or alternatively as AM and PM. (See also Book of Genesis and Schema FMC00.276 on Overview of solar system evolution)

Everything in evolution is subject to the metamorphosis of taking and giving. This is related to the Twelve Conditions of Consciousness, at CoC level 9 beings can emanate their own substance out of sacrifice, see eg the Thrones in the Old Saturn planetary stage. Man is on its way developing along this 'ladder of CoC', currently at waking consciousness CoC level 4.

Human beings take in the first half of a cycle; in the second half they give back what they have taken. Man owes his development to lower kingdoms, and will redeem them in his ascent, see Man and nature's kingdoms in evolution. See also Schema FMC00.055 below and for more detail Earth rounds perspective.

Aspects

  • in the second half of the Earth evolutionary stage (and always towards the end of a planetary stage), the being of central importance (and on the Earth this is Man) is left free, so that the qualities with which he was originally endowed may pass more freely into his own hands. (1912-06-20-GA133)
    • this has to do with the evolution of all spiritual beings in the great cosmic fractal of evolution, see Schema FMC00.276 on Overview of solar system evolution that sketches the principle across planetary stages. The same view is available per planetary stage, eg for Old Sun
  • considering an evolutionary period represented by an 'arc' (descending and ascending again, subdivided in seven subperiods), the speed of the evolutionary dynamic is not the same throughout this main period, but it begins faster, than slows down to a relatively stable period, then speeds up again (o.a. 1918-10-13-GA184, but there are other better references, also Harrison describes this).

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.240 depicts the quote from Cosmic Memory (1904-GA011). The illustration on the right can be read as showing the SoF (green) handing over to the Archai (yellow). See the case study of the SoF handing over to the archai around the 4th century.

FMC00.240.jpg

Schema FMC00.240A puts the above in perspective and shows how this corresponds to the cosmic breathing pattern


Schema FMC00.055 gives a schematic representation centered on the Development of Man.

In the first half Man of this solar evolution, at the highest level .. Man receives upto CoC=4 and CoL=3 in the exhalation (of the creation by the Father principle), at CoC=4 and CoL=4 however there is the start of something new. The Christ becomes the guiding owner and coordinator of a new cycle, that will lead to new spiritual hierarchies (Man are to become Gods) and the Earth (starts shining at the moment of the MoG) and is to become a new Sun. Man is set free and becomes a co-creator, starting with the impact of our thoughts, feelings and actions (as seeds for future worlds). In the future, Man will evolve to ever greater capabilities of creation.

Lecture coverage and references

Regarding transitions between cycles:

C.G. Harrison (1855-1936) links the cycles to the hierarchies, and makes the connection to the precession of the equinoxes and the ice ages.

In the last of his six lectures delivered in 1893, he describes the 'law of cataclysms', that is .. why each epoch cyclically ends in a major discontinuity:

... they occur at the end of every 'root race' because the Principalities (or 'angels of periods') [editor: Spirits of Time, in Steiner's nomenclature] of the succeeding one are then evolving at their minimum rate, having completed one-half of their minor cycle. At such times, the centripetal resistance to the attraction of the Eight Sphere is at its weakest. These periods coincide with the precession of the equinoxes, the last was the end of the glacial epoch in the northern hemisphere, and is preserved in the memory of a universal flood in the traditions of all nations.

1904-GA011 (Cosmic Memory) (SWCC)

This work is not yet completed at the end of the life of Old Saturn; it continues into the first Old Sun cycle.

One should consider that the labor of the higher spirits which has been described here does not coincide with the beginning and end of a smaller cycle (of a round), but that it continues from the middle of one to the middle of the next.

  • It increases from the middle of a cycle (Manvantara) onward,
  • becomes strongest in the middle of a period of rest (Pralaya),
  • and then ebbs in the next.

It has already been mentioned in the preceding chapters that life by no means ceases during the periods of rest. Its greatest activity is developed in the periods of rest between the cycles.

1904-11-01-GA089

Human beings take in the first half of a cycle; in the second half they give back what they have taken.

  • In the first half of the one cycle, the mineral world was thus separated out, since it was a hindrance to human beings. They were then using for themselves all the energy which would otherwise have served to develop the mineral world further; later on they absorbed this world again.
  • In the second half of the cycle, human beings thus redeem the mineral world, metamorphosing it. They then give to the mineral world the achievements of their own evolution, having first separated that world out.

Absolutely everything in human evolution is subject to the metamorphosis of taking and giving. This determines our ethical attitudes to the highest degree. Anything we make our own may only be taken so that it may be given back again later on.

1912-06-20-GA133

This will help you to understand that something quite definite will come about during the second half of the period of Earth-evolution into which we have now passed.

...

.. of this we must be clear: the Spiritual Beings, moving up as they do to higher ranks, have themselves to evolve, and prepare for the next planetary condition of the Earth, in order that during the Future Jupiter-existence they may endow the beings who once belonged to the Earth with forms which will then be appropriate. Towards the end of a planetary age it is always the case that the being of central importance — and on the Earth this is Man — is left free, so that the qualities with which he was originally endowed may pass more freely into his own hands.

A more expanded version of this quote from the same lecture:

What is the principle underlying the distinction to be made among the individual forms of men in the course of the evolution of humanity?

Everything that is “form” on the Earth derives from the Spirits of Form (SoF). The name Spirits of Form is actually given to these Beings of the Higher Hierarchies because everything that has form, shape, life — everything that takes on shape inwardly and evolves an outer form, has received the essential impetus for this form from the SoF. Now all these Beings of the Higher Hierarchies are involved in a constant process of evolution. Not only man, but in a certain sense all the Beings of the different Hierarchies are involved in a constant process of evolution.

In our present age,

  • the Spirits of Form are moving to the higher rank of Spirits of Movement,
  • the Archai to that of Spirits of Form,
  • the Archangels to that of Archai.

[Phase-over]

As the Spirits of Form move upwards in rank they no longer function, in the primary sense, as Spirits of Form, but the succeeding Archai do not, at once, assume the functions of Spirits of Form.

This will help you to understand that something quite definite will come about during the second half of the period of Earth-evolution into which we have now passed.

At the beginning of Earth-evolution, the Spirits of Form stamped the principle of form into man; this comes to expression in the different human forms. Just as the various races have developed their characteristic qualities, and individual human beings take on the traits of the several races, so have the various groups of humanity as a whole all over the Earth received their stamp from the Spirits of Form.

What the Spirits of Form stamped into human beings has long since passed into the processes of heredity; it has long since become a heritage, handed down from generation to generation. In a sense, the Spirits of Form leave man greater freedom as they themselves move into a higher category and withdraw from the form-creating function devolving upon them at the beginning of Earth-evolution. So far as the Beings of the Hierarchies are concerned, man is drawing nearer and nearer to his “coming of age.”

But of this we must be clear — The Spiritual Beings, moving up as they do to higher ranks, have themselves to evolve, and prepare for the next planetary condition of the Earth, in order that during the Jupiter-existence they may endow the beings who once belonged to the Earth with forms which will then be appropriate. Towards the end of a planetary age it is always the case that the being of central importance — and on the Earth this is Man — is left free, so that the qualities with which he was originally endowed may pass more freely into his own hands.

1918-10-13-GA184

I have often mentioned .. that as

.. at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, men stood facing the turning-point of the fourth post-Atlantean age, the year 333

.. so we today are facing a turning-point.

The time is rather shorter because the movements of the higher Spirits change in velocity; we cannot reckon that today we have 333 years again before the turning-point. It changes somewhat in the course of time, this speed with which the various separate Spirits of the higher Hierarchies move on.

Thus today, in the first third of the twentieth century, we are facing the approach of an important event for mankind.

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