Twelve guiding spirits

From Anthroposophy

Every planetary chain has twelve guiding spirits, acknowledged as regents in symbols such as the zodiac, with the sun moving through them.

The spiritual influences coming from the twelve zodiac signs can be studied from various angles:

  • the movement of the Sun through the zodiac, which takes about 25920 years or one platonic year
  • the daily movement of the Sun (re the Sun's daily path)
  • there is a relation between these spirits and the forces descending and ascending to the zodiac, and the development of Man.
  • furthermore, there is also a deeply meaningful relationship between the number 12 and the numbers 7 and 5, also regarding the 'good' or the 'misguided or evil' influences.


Schema FMC00.071 depicts the rotation schedule between the twelve guiding spirits, whereby the division of seven and five is explained in 1909-08-31-GA113 (see extract below). See also: Zodiac streams: seven and five


Schema FMC00.068 shows original drawings of the Mystical Lamb symbol, see again 1909-08-31-GA113 below.


Lecture coverage and references

  • In 1904-07-03-GA089 the relationship between seven and twelve is explained, and why there are twelve guiding spirits for a planetary chain such as in our solar system. Note the published schema is not the one in the above schema, our working hypothesis is that an error slipped into completing the schema whilst the principle was being explained verbally. The schema above follows the logic from the lecture and appears more consistent. Quote (SWCC):

    In every planetary chain we have twelve guiding spirits .. acknowledged as regents in symbols for instanec in the zodiac, with the sun moving through them. .. Our concepts belong to the higher spirit world and are beyond our ability to conceive, we speak here not of one proceeding from another but of timeless relationships.

  • in 1909-08-31-GA113 the relation between seven and twelve is explained. See also Discussion area below.

But there is also an inner relationship of space and time which I can only indicate here in bare outline with which the numbers twelve and seven have something to do. And my illustration shall be made as was usual in the mysteries when the relations of twelve to seven in the cosmos was being portrayed. It has been said that if we do not consider universal space in an abstract sense, but really relate earth conditions to universal space, we must refer those earth conditions to the circle described by the twelve essential points of the Zodiac, viz. Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.

These twelve points of the Zodiac were not alone the real and veritable world symbols for the very oldest divine spiritual beings, but the symbols themselves were thought to correspond, in a certain sense, with reality.

Even when the earth was embodied as old Saturn, the forces issuing from these twelve directions were at work upon that ancient planet; so they were later on the old Sun, and on the old Moon, and are now and will continue to be in the future. Therefore they have as it were the nature of permanence, they are far more sublime than that which arises and passes away within our earth existence. That which is symbolised by the twelve signs of the Zodiac is infinitely higher than that which is transformed in the evolutionary course of our planet from old Saturn to old Sun and from that to old Moon and so on. Planetary existence arises and passes away, but the Zodiac is ever there. What is symbolised by the points of the Zodiac is more sublime than what upon our earth plays its part as the opposition between good and evil.


That which is the symbol of Gods in the twelve points in space, in the twelve points of permanence is above good and evil. Out in space we have to seek for the symbols of those divine-spiritual beings which considered in themselves and without reference to their effects upon our earthly sphere, are beyond the differences between good and evil.

But now let us conceive that which becomes our earth beginning to be active. That can only happen by a division as it were coming to pass in the permanent deities and that which takes place entering into a different relation to these gods of permanence, who are divided into two spheres, into a sphere of good and a sphere of evil. ..


Of the twelve points of permanence there remain belonging to the good, the five actually within the sphere of good and the two on the border, making seven. Therefore we speak of seven as remaining over from the twelve. When we wish to speak of that which is good and which acts as our guide in time, we must speak of seven wise men, of seven Rishis, for this corresponds to reality. Hence also comes the conception that seven signs of the Zodiac belong to the world of light, to the upper world, and that the lower five beginning with Scorpio belong to the world of darkness.


  • From 1904-07-03-GA089 (see schema) follows that the previous planetary stages had a guiding spirit that, considering 1908-01-27-GA102, would correspond to the table of principles to be developed per planetary stage. A few observations follow from contemplating this potential correspondence:
    • first, we observe that
      • the active and non-active zodiac sign mapping in the GA089 lecture does not map correspondingly to the zodiac signs as described in GA102 (see picture on the right, ascending/descending for the 5/7 zodiac signs),
      • nor does the GA102 quote referring to the change from Virgo to Libra in the Atlantean epoch (when Man started to think) correspond.
      • Note also this has nothing to do with the Zodiac clock and the movement of the Sun across the zodiac, about one sign per cultural age. A distinction needs to be made here between the guiding spirits, and the signs that Steiner is referring to in the GA102 lecture.
    • the guiding spirit for current planetary stage Earth would be Sagittarius. Interestingly, from this sign we observe the most intensivement bombardment with cosmic rays, it is also the location of the black hole for our galaxy.
    • maybe less interestingly (because probably not relevant) but still a side-observation: the current fifth epoch on Earth corresponds to Leo.
      • In 1906-10-04-GA091 we find the correspondence between Christ and the Lion

        Lion = budhi-force corresponds to Christ. The Lion is this Cherub. .. .. the Cherubim with the Lion-head .

Let us think of this spread among seven planets. In truth, all seven are present, but one of them always has the power (the others hold lesser offices). If we take the fourth orb, it is ours. The device for us is therefore: The Father principle veils itself in the Word and reveals itself to the Spirit. And that is Christianity. With this Cherub we have the key word and hence also the meaning of Christianity.

1909-08-31-GA113 lecture extract discussion topic

This extract points to the difference of what lies above the spirit world (no evil in budhi and nirvana planes), and the fact that at some point time and space come in, as well as good and evil. The fourth akasha layer in the spirit world separates the formed (rupa, lowest three layers) and unformed (arupa, highest three layers) parts of the spirit world. See Planes or worlds of consciousness.

See also 1904-08-12-GA090A quote on the Evil page.

Related pages

References and further reading