Two streams of development

From Anthroposophy

For background on the general concept of two streams of evolution see: Overlapping evolutionary periods#1909-09-20-GA114.


After the Atlantean epoch, the developmental plan for the Current Postatlantean epoch consisted of two streams of development for humanity. One population was to stay in the Northwest (Europe) while another population in the Southeast evolved the soul. The latter Southeastern developments we know as the highlights of cultural development in the eastern asian cultures of India upto Egypt and Greece.

In the Current Postatlantean epoch those two streams met in the fourth (Greco-Roman) cultural age, when humanity received the Christ Impulse (see Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams).

In the Current fifth cultural age of the spiritual consciousness soul (Schema FMC00.167), the Christ Impulse fructifies the development of humanity (see a.o. Schema FMC00.190 and Schema FMC00.428A) so as to deliver its fruits in the next Sixth cultural age, when part of mankind will develop the spirit-self and life-spirit (see Man's bodily principles).

The high level overview above is illustrated by Schema FMC00.438 on Current Postatlantean epoch, which shows how evolution works not in a steady linear fashion but in discrete jumps, symbolized by the spiral: a new future outgoing branch starts after the old incoming branch is fructified by a new element (more info in the commentary to the Schema, and 1909-08-27-GA113 below)

The origin and development of these two streams has two main aspects for study:

  • their foundation with the migrations at the end of the Atlantean epoch. Here also two main streams are spoken of, a Northern and Southern - see Schema FMC00.205B on Migrations. Geographically:
    • The Northern stream was formed by the migration of people from Atlantis to northerly regions, passing through Europe and Northern Central Asia: it can be mapped to areas that now include England, the north of France, and extend to the present Scandinavia, Russia and into Asia as far as India.
    • The Southern stream went through Africa, Arabia and Southern Asia; and can be mapped to include southern Spain, Africa to Egypt and Arabia.
    • Subcommunities with initiates were left along the way.
  • the further development of the communities of these 'two streams of development' during the whole of the Postatlantean epoch, which also included complex migrations - see Schema FMC00.453 on Migrations. Furthermore, note that the center of cultural development in the Southern stream moved from East to West with each cultural age, from the India, over Persia, Egypt to the Fourth Greco-Roman cultural age (see Schema FMC00.432 below).

The two evolutionary streams differed in that:

  • the northern peoples worked at the production of a human being whose outer bodily form is an image of the spirit. They created the outer aspect of the image of divinity in Man. During the migrations at the end of the Atlantean epoch, in Europe a population of less advanced souls (on a moral path downwards as a result of the disclosure of the mysteries in the Atlantean epoch, for which they were not ripe) was left behind to gradually recover from this under the guidance of advanced souls over several millenia (in the period of approx 8000-3000 BC).
  • the southern peoples developed the invisible forces of soul, perceptible only when the gaze is directed inwards to the inner life. They created the invisible soul-image of the godhead in the inner life.

So whereas the Southern stream was developing inner soul faculties (wisdom, conscience), the cultures of the Northern stream (in middle and northern Europe) knew a different evolutionary pathway which can be described as waiting and maturing, leaving the old behind and awaiting the new, whilst developing the physical body as a vehicle for the future spiritual.

The purpose (of these two different streams of development, for various cohorts or populations of humanity) was fulfilled as the two streams came together in the fourth cultural age of the Postatlantean epoch where the Mystery of Golgotha gave the new impulse for all future development. This is illustrated on Schema FMC00.438, Schema FMC00.441 below, and it is an important concept to understand how the whole Current Postatlantean epoch was preparing for, and is centered on, the Mystery of Golgotha and the Christ Impulse. The preparations in the 'old' can be traced back to connect to the various Atlantean oracles and consecutive migrations, in a similar way the 'new' is to follow from this in the next sixth cultural age and the next Sixth epoch where these seeds will come to fruition in a new race of humanity.


Origin and link with previous epochs

For more detailed coverage and lecture references on this aspect, see Germanic mythology

  • see Schema FMC00.432, for introduction see 1904-10-25-GA051, but also 1905-12-10-GA90B: two branches of the common main stock
  • various perspectives: origin in previous epochs, which people, what characteristics
    • in the south:
      • tradition from Lemurian epoch (perished by fire), symbolically represented by 'Muspelheim', the 'warm land of the Sun' or 'kingdom of fire'
      • to the southern branch belong the Greeks, Latins, and Hindus
    • in the north:
      • the tradition from the Atlantean race (perished by water), symbolically represented by 'Nifelheim', the 'land of mist and fog' or 'kingdom of ice'
      • to the northern branch belong the Persian and Germanic tribes
      • preserved original unpolished qualities which the southern stream passed through and cast off after a transition
  • link with the Atlantean epoch: the more advanced souls migrated East (India, Persia) .. other less advanced souls that had been affected by the disclosure of the mysteries in the Atlantean epoch, and were on a pathway of moral descent, were left behind in the Western areas such as Europe and Africa (see Migrations#1912-05-29-GA155)

Positioning the Atlantean migrations and the two streams of development in the Postatlantean epoch

  • although indeed related, these two streams of development should not be fully identified or confused with the two streams of migrations that took place at the end of the Atlantean epoch, as these also had a northern and southern branch (eg 1910-09-01-GA123, Schema FMC00.205B). However that is not what is meant here, even though lectures that discuss these migrations also use the terminology of two streams, a northern and a southern. See Note [1] in the Discussion area below.
  • the migrations of people over millenia are quite complex and not to be oversimplified to the simple diagrams as Schema FMC00.205 and variants; see the topic page Migrations and eg positioning statement Human races#1904-XX-XX-GA090A
  • the Persian culture is related to the Northern stream (Zarathustra's teachings to focus on the Earth), but on the other hand it still cannot be compared to what lived in the culture of Northwestern Europe that was 'waiting' for the fifth cultural age (Schema FMC00.438); an example of this is the Mithras cult that was still focusing on the inner soul-spiritual experiences (see eg Mithras#1923-09-10-GA350)
  • initiates and communities 'left behind' in Europe as part of the initial migrations (Schema FMC00.205B)
    • whereas at the end of the Atlantean epoch the more advanced souls migrated East (India, Persia) .. other less advanced souls that had been affected by the disclosure of the mysteries in the Atlantean epoch, and were on a pathway of moral descent, were left behind in the Western areas such as Europe and Africa. Under leadership of advanced guides they were brought over centuries and millenia to recover from this and find a moral ascent focusing on virtues such as valour and bravery. As a result some of the bodies of the lower sub-races died out as souls that advanced moved on to incarnate in other races. (see Migrations#1912-05-29-GA155)
    • simultaneously with the migration East led by Manu into Tibet, initiates who fostered the spiritual life in the Mysteries were left behind everywhere among the people of Europe (1908-05-27-GA103)

Northern (or Northwestern) stream

  • the Northern stream (in middle and northern Europe) waiting and maturing, leaving the old behind and awaiting the new
    • This is described on the topic pages for Germanic mythology and Mystery School tradition. To appreciate this 'waiting for three for cultural ages', see eg. 1904-10-21-GA092 which states this explicitly, but also the contents of Siegfried - Ragnarok - Nibelungen
    • "While new cultures were being prepared and played out, the European population lived through the centuries as if waiting. Her strength was held back, as it were, for what was to come." (1909-11-14-GA117)
    • the people who were the seed for the fifth cultural age where those who had had the least contact with what had occurred in the meantime in the four preceding cultural ages. They had not penetrated into the regions in which the cultures in question took root (1910-GA013)
  • leadership of Skythianos
    • .. [the Northern stream] .. in their essential cultural elements, were influenced by that great initiate who chose this field for himself as far as the Siberian regions and who is called the initiate Skythianos. He inspired the leaders of the European primitive culture not by thinking but a kind of rhythmic recitation and singing interplaying with pipe-like instruments (1909-11-14-GA117) - link with Orpheus
    • .. in one of his subsequent incarnations, Skythianos led the occult schools of Central Asia, and later he also became the teacher of esoteric schools in Europe (1909-05-31-GA109)
    • Skythianos .. "one of the greatest initiates of the Earth" .. "who had founded mystery places in the West for the preservation of the old Atlantean wisdom, a wisdom that entered deeply into all the secrets of the physical body (1909-08-31-GA113)
  • Schema FMC00.205B on Migrations shows the foundation of this southern stream to have originated with the migration of the Jupiter oracle and community (see also Schema FMC00.460)
  • development of the strength of the human physical body as a carrier for the future consciousness soul, see Schema FMC00.476 and more details on the Nerthus topic page.

Southern (or Southeastern) stream

  • migration under leadership of the great Sun initiate Manu (1909-11-14-GA117)
  • Schema FMC00.205B on Migrations shows the foundation of this southern stream to have originated with the migration of the Venus Mercury (and Moon) oracles and communities (see also Schema FMC00.460)

The two streams and Christianity

  • with regards to Christianity the two streams, based on their history, approached Christianity differently (see a.o. Nerthus#1916-12-24-GA173 and other related lectures such as 1916-12-21-GA173)
    • The Northern stream would have a feeling of the Jesus Mystery (and Christmas), a child who comes into the world to save mankind (based on unconscious feelings based on ancient customs). The Roman catholic church transformed this Christmas Mystery into something innocuous.
    • The Southern stream had more of an understanding of the Christ Mystery (and Easter), eg in Gnosis. This was destroyed root and branch by dogma and the Roman catholic church.
  • the two streams of human development also meet in the Christ: the southern inner path represented by the Buddha, and the northern outer path represented by Zarathustra. This also explains how the different gospels shed light from the different angles of perspective, to describe both (1910-12-19-GA124).
  • The two streams met in the fourth cultural age, see Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams and Schema FMC00.438.
  • The Christ and MoG as the fusion of streams (Northern and Southern)
    • .. "such was the deep connection between the Being who was to bring about the fusion of the two spiritual streams and the other who was to announce His coming" (1909-09-19-GA114)
    • joining of two streams as symbolized by Zarathustra and Buddha, see The being of Elijah#1909-09-20-GA114 and also Schema FMC00.102 on Gospels


  • see Schema FMC00.168 on Recapitulation that illustrates how the fifth is really the main new and pivotal cultural age. Compare with Schema FMC00.169 and Schema FMC00.169A on Overlapping evolutionary periods that shows how the seed sample of humanity for the new cycle and epoch of development is taken from the next cultural age in the Atlantean and Current Postatlantean epochs.
  • the two streams are described slightly differently in various lectures (see also Notes [1] and [2] in the Discussion area below)
    • 1920-02-08-GA196 focuses on the constitution of body and soul of the groups who stayed in Europe (West, and North), versus those who traveled more East (and South). This is the basis used for Schema FMC00.432, Schema FMC00.438, Schema FMC00.441, as this is the main lecture that explains the essence of the different development of the two streams.
    • 1909-08-27-GA113 (was most probably the basis for what) is illustrated with Schema FMC00.205B by Wachsmuth.
      • This lecture goes further, in that it states that the first cultural age (ancient Indian) was still - in terms of spiritual faculties - combining characteristics of both streams (which could be called the inner and outer path). The ancient Persian cultural age, with Zarathustra, focused more on the outer path. In that sense it has the characteristics of the Northern stream (see blue arrow on Schema FMC00.205B). The Egyptian and Greek cultures are described as having the characteristics of the Southern stream.
    • 1910-12-19-GA124 does not have elements differentiating in any other way, rather describes another aspect, that of spiritual leadership for the two streams (Buddha/Zarathustra) and their merger also in the Christ event.
      • see also Schema FMC00.452 on Gospels for further references on this perspective (1910-01-07-GA117A)
  • these streams come back in what is described by Rudolf Steiner as substreams in The Michaelic stream (shepard/magi, Arthur/Grail). Based on their origin, one can link these to the ancient Atlantean Mysteries and the Human races (see eg Schema FMC00.204)
  • "the West must receive an impulse from the East"


Schema FMC00.476 provides an introductory summary to position the two streams of development in the Current Postatlantean epoch upto the fourth cultural age when they merged.


Schema FMC00.438 illustrates the essential agenda for humanity in the Current Postatlantean epoch to develop the first spiritual principle of Man's higher triad, the spirit-self (or manas) - see Schema FMC00.130. This will be achieved for a large part of humanity in the sixth cultural age (light yellow) as the fruits of the fructification of the consciousness soul by the Christ Impulse (see text in red, and the two mini infographics - see also Schema FMC00.428A).

This critical period of the fourth to the sixth cultural ages was prepared in the first four cultural ages (see Recapitulation - Schema FMC00.168), in parallel in a Southeastern and Northwestern stream. Both streams relate to the Atlantean migrations and the development of body and soul in the different populations (see also Human races). The Northwestern stream was in a preparatory waiting mode for four ages, see what is discussed on the topic pages available from both Germanic mythology and Mystery School tradition, a.o. but not limited to Ragnarok, Nibelungen, Druidic and Trotten Mysteries, Wotan Impulse, etc). The two streams met in the fourth cultural age, see Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams.

The spiral below (see also Schema FMC00.169) illustrates how evolution proceeds in discrete jumps, and the whole Schema is a concrete example of that in more detail. The central node of the spiral happens between the fourth to sixth cultural ages, of which the fifth is pivotal or central.

This positions the truly pivotal nature and importance of the current times, as the Christ Impulse is to fructify the consciousness soul so as to get the fruits required for this whole epoch in the next cultural age (Schema FMC00.169A). See also Schema FMC00.052: the next three millenia are crucial, and the current (and next) incarnation(s) is and are therefore pivotal.

Additional schemas that complement this schema: Schema FMC00.432, Schema FMC00.205B and Schema FMC00.441 below

Last, the Mystery of Golgatha in the center of the spiral is not just central to the current epoch, but to the whole Earth cycle and the evolution of the solar system cosmos: it is the start of a new creation, see Schema FMC00.400 on Cosmic breath of Brahma. For perspective, see also the PDF file The great journey of humanity.


Schema FMC00.459 shows the development of the various people and cultures through the guidance of archangelic folk-spirit and archai time spirits. It how the development of the Northwestern European (in short Northern) stream differed from the Southern stream: whereas the first cultural ages knew a 'regular' development, the situation was different for the European people who were more individualized through the longer continued working of the various archangelic folk spirits. It also shows how the Mystery of Golgotha was pivotal in the fourth cultural age and influenced the spreading of Christianity and the development of the current fifth cultural age.

  • The archangel of ancient Greece, after becoming archai time spirit of the fourth cultural age, renounced the possibility to rise to the hierarchy of Spirits of Form, and became the guiding spirit of exoteric Christianity for future cultural ages.
  • The archangel of the Celtic people, soon after the MoG renounced the possibility of becoming an archai and choose to remain at archangelic stage (and to subordinate  in future to the different time spirits who might arise in Europe) .. and became the guiding spirit of esoteric Christianity.

Related, for the transfer of the Spirits of Form (SoF) to the archai in this transition between the fourth and fifth cultural ages, see Transition between 4th and 14th century (eg Schema FMC00.167)


Schema FMC00.432 shows a geographical view on the Current Postatlantean epoch, with the center of culture over millenia moving across the Southern most advanced stream described extensively by spiritual science. Meanwhile the Northern stream developed differently, as expressed in the Northern Scandinavian and Germanic mythology and ancient Mystery tradition, with initiation centers such as the Hibernian, Druidic and Trotten Mysteries, and the Colchis Mysteries (see Schema FMC00.437).

It is important to realize that the development of humanity was not limited to the key cultures highlighted in the descriptive labels given to characterize each cultural age. For example the Mayan and Jewish cultures also belong to the third 'Egypto-Chaldean' cultural age. Also the Chinese culture is not a focus in the descriptions of the development of humanity.

Also shown are for reference are the Gobi desert and Tibet, see the migrations on Schemas FMC00.205 and variants on Atlantean epoch. For the geographical movement of the epicentrum of cultural height across the globe, see Schema FMC00.211 on Human races.

Schema FMC00.432A is a variant with an adapted and extended area for the Northern stream, based on study of quotes about the leader of this stream, the Bodhisatta from the White Lodge known under the name Scythianos. Relevant lecture references include Siberia, Finland, St-Petersburg as well as the area around the Black Sea. The 1914-11-09-GA158 on Kalevela speaks of the seeding of the slavic soul (and the origin of the term 'russian') in the light of future receptiveness for the Christ Impulse.

Compare with the location of the Colchis Mysteries near the Black Sea, and the other initiation centers on Schema FMC00.437. Furthermore, note also that Beinsa Douno often spoke of the mission of the Slavs and the Bulgarian people.


Schema FMC00.441 is a navigational aid schema: the green boxes represent topic pages on this wiki, related as represented graphically.

The schema shows that Ancient history of myths and legends is a representation of ancient Mystery School tradition in cultures, incl. initiatory processes and a previous more primeval form of spiritual science. Whereas the Southern is most well known, the Northern stream is much less known and understood. The latter needs to be approached in a different way, see the topic pages on the lower right. This background is required in order to see how the encompassing importance picture of the two streams emerges, and how it relates to Christianity (see middle: shepards/magi and Christmas/Eastern affinity).

See also: The Michaelic stream#Substream polarities where this is framed broader, as one can zoom out and link back to the descent of human spirits to Earth and the evolution of the main Human races.


Lecture coverage and references


To find our bearings, we must get a little insight into two currents belonging to our fifth epoch, which are active as hidden powers in the souls of men and are often in conflict with one another.

  • The one current is most clearly and best represented by what we call the Egyptian, Indian and South European outlook on life. Everything belonging later to Judaism and even to Christianity contains a little of that. But in our European culture, on the other hand, this has been intermingled with
  • that other current which is to be found in ancient Persia and — if we disregard what the anthropologists and etymologists say and go deeper into the matter — we find it again stretching westwards from Persia to the regions of the Teutons.

Of these two currents I would maintain that two mighty and important spiritual intuitions underlie them.


see: Germanic mythology#1904-10-25-GA051


See longer extracts for more context on: Human races#1905-11-09-GA054

In this early lecture, the two streams of development are described as 'belts', not at all streams (as in migration), with a rather specific geographical outline:

We can understand our race if we pursue it in two currents ..

  • we have that current at first, which moves from the west, maybe from England to Asia. It probably gave cause for the Indian, the Near Eastern-Semitic, for the Indo-African-Semitic races as well as for the Arabian-Chaldean race.
  • .. another current that did not progress so far which came maybe only to Ireland or Holland, or also to the area that the ancestors of the ancient Persians inhabited. There we have a belt of related population through the area of the Persians via the Black Sea to Europe.

Thus, we can verify two zones of human population.

  • One extends from India over here and encloses the southern peninsulas of Europe;
  • the other encloses the zones located to the north with different gradations. There we have the Aryan one and the different Semitic gradations in Asia and Africa; then in Greece and Italy the Greek-Latin population. However, we have to imagine them also in such a way that it originated from the mixture with the northern belt which also encloses the Persian population and everything that developed, like from undergrounds, the Slavic and the Germanic populations in the west, and that which provides the basis more or less of all, the ancient Celtic population. We can imagine that we had an ancient Celtic population in the west of Europe. This part of the current of peoples lies farthest to the west, while the Persian population is that part which went the farthest to the east. The Slavic and the Germanic peoples stand between; intermingled with the southern belt, these established the Greek-Latin race. You can prove it in the languages that a relationship of the population exists, which expresses itself the strongest in the deep relationship of the languages in the northern belt.

see: Germanic mythology#1905-12-10-GA90B


Zarathas is the same individual as Zarathustra — not the Zarathustra known to history, but the exalted individual who founded ancient Persian culture and who was the teacher in the occult schools of that time.

Skythianos was a highly developed individual of ancient times. In one of his subsequent incarnations he led the occult schools of Central Asia, and later he also became the teacher of esoteric schools in Europe.

Boddha and Buddha are one and the same person.


has the title: Comparison of the wisdom of East and West

see also Schema FMC00.476


Mention had to be made of this, because these two paths to the spiritual world have played a great role in human evolution and because the East and the West and the relation between the ‘Children of Lucifer’ and the ‘Brothers of Christ’ can only be rightly understood if their existence is taken into account. In the outer world, which to the ordinary human eye is apt to appear a motley web of many and varied facts and phenomena, there is nothing which is not guided by wisdom, nothing in which spiritual beings, spiritual forces and facts do not come into play; and we understand the matter aright only when we have realised that the spiritual events have been brought together under the direction of those powers which have been described from many different aspects.

To understand why a certain form of wisdom has flourished in the East and why the future of the Christian impulse depends upon the development of powers residing in the West, we must consider the origin and historical trend of the two worlds (East and West).

[Atlantean epoch]

We know that the spiritual life of the present had its origin in old Atlantis. That an ancient spiritual life developed upon a land in the West lying between modern Europe and America, and that such Asiatic, African and American civilisations as exist are the last remnants of those of ancient Atlantis. Atlantis is the Father and Motherland of all the cultured life of today. Before the mighty catastrophe which changed the face of the globe into its present configuration, there were to be found in old Atlantis species of men very different from those of the present time, men guided by high initiates and leaders. A civilisation developed there essentially under the influence of an ancient clairvoyance, and men possessed a natural and instinctive faculty for penetrating through the outer veils of the sense world to the higher spiritual world as well as through their own soul life to the lower gods. Just as it is natural to men of the present day to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and so on, it was natural for men of that time not only to see colours and hear in the outer world, but to be aware of spiritual beings as realities behind these colours and tones. In the same way it was natural for men at that time not only to hear the voice of conscience but also to perceive those spiritual beings called Erinyes by the Greeks. The old Atlanteans were intimately acquainted with a spiritual world.

The purpose of human evolution implies that men are gradually to rise up out of this old instinctive but spiritually perceptive consciousness and push forward to the consciousness proper to our modern time. It was necessary for men to go through this stage of life on the physical plane.

It was not possible to guide the whole evolution of mankind from the spiritual world in such a simple way that one stream of humanity should pass from old Atlantis over the regions of Europe and Africa into Asia, and that everything should develop, as it were, along straight lines.

Evolution is never a simple, straight line of development from a single germ; another factor has to come in, and a very simple analogy will show that this is the case. Consider a plant. The seed is put into the earth and out of it develop the elementary organs of the plant, the leaves, and later, the calyx, stamen, pistils and so on. Now if development is to continue in plant life, as we know it, it is essential that something else should happen. The formation of the fruit from the blossom depends upon fecundation the fertilising substances of one plant must pass over to another, for the fruit could not develop simply out of the blossom. A stream of influences from outside has to be introduced in order that development may progress. What may be perceived in the plant is a picture of universal life and is also an indication of the laws of spiritual life. It is quite false to believe that in spiritual life a stream of culture arises here or there and continually produces new offshoots from itself. This may happen for a time, but it would no more suffice to bring about what is to come to pass, than would the blossom, without fertilisation, be able to produce the fruit.

[Two streams]

At a certain definite point of cultural evolution, a side influence must come in, a spiritual fertilisation of human development. Just as in plant life the male and female elements develop independently, so in human evolution from the time of Atlantis there had to be formed not one stream but two, passing from old Atlantis towards the East. It was necessary that these streams of civilisation should develop separately for a while, and then meet again to fertilise each other at a definite period.

We can follow these two streams of human evolution if we examine the records of spiritual seer-ship.

  • One stream of evolution is formed by the transmigration of certain peoples from old Atlantis to more northerly regions, touching territories which now include England, the north of France, and thence extend to the present Scandinavia, Russia and into Asia as far as India. In this movement were to be found peoples of various kinds, forming the vehicle of a definite spiritual life.
  • A second stream went a different way, in a more southerly direction, through southern Spain and Africa to Egypt and thence to Arabia. Each of these two streams of civilisation goes its own way until they meet to fructify each other at a later point of time.

Now wherein consists the difference between these two streams of culture?

Men belonging to the northern stream were more adapted for the use of the outer senses of external perception their tendency was to look outwards to the veil of the surrounding world. There were initiates among these northern men who showed them the way to the spiritual worlds where the upper gods were to be found — gods who are reached by penetrating through the veils of the outer sense world. To this category belong the beings reverenced as the Northern Germanic gods. Odin, Thor, etc., are the names of divine beings to be found behind the outer veil of the sense world.

Men belonging to the southern stream were differently constituted. These peoples had a greater tendency to delve into their soul life, into their inner nature. Let us say — and do not take the word amiss — the northern peoples had a greater gift for observing the world, the southern peoples for brooding over their own soul life, seeking the spiritual world through this inner veil. Hence it is not a matter for wonder that the gods of the descendants of the southern stream belonged to the Nether World and were rulers of the soul life. Consider the Egyptian Osiris. Osiris is the divinity found by man on Passing through the gate of death; Osiris is the god who cannot live in the external sense world. He lived there in ancient times only, and as the new era approached he was overcome by the powers of the sense world, by the evil Set; and since then he has lived in the world entered after death, accessible only by plunging into the immortal, permanent human principle which passes from incarnation to incarnation. This was why Osiris was felt to be most intimately bound up with the inner life of man.

Here we have the fundamental difference between the northern and the southern peoples.

[Northern stream -> Ancient India]

There was, however, one race who in the first period of the post Atlantean epoch combined both qualities. This race was specially selected to follow both paths leading to the spiritual world and along each of them to discover that which was serviceable and right for that age, being possessed of the capacity both for attaining the spiritual world behind the external sense world and also for finding the spiritual world behind the veil of their own soul life by sinking into the mystical depths of their inner nature.

This faculty, in the first ages at all events of the old Atlantean era, was possessed by all men — and connected with it was a very definite experience. If a Man who is only able to reach the spiritual world through the external sense world and to find the upper gods hears that somewhere else on the Earth there are other gods, he does not understand them aright. But where the two faculties of penetrating through the external sense world and through the veil of the soul life are united, a Man makes the very significant discovery that what is to be found behind the veil of the soul life is exactly the same, in essence, as that behind the veil of the outer sense world. A uniform spiritual world is revealed from without and from within. If a Man should get to know the spiritual world by both paths, he realises their unity.

The people of ancient India were in a position to realise the unity of spiritual life.

  • When the super-sensible sight of the ancient Indian was directed outwards he perceived spiritual beings holding together and coordinating external phenomena.
  • When he sank into his inner nature he found his Brahman; and he knew what he found behind the veil of his soul life to be identical with that which, passing through the Cosmos on mighty pinions, created and fashioned the external world.

Such mighty conceptions — fruits of ancient Atlantean culture, preserved over the post Atlantean times — still influence us.

But evolution does not progress by the mere transformation of preservation of the old, but by the bringing to birth of other streams of evolution so that mutual enrichment may take place.

[Northern stream -> ancient Persia]

If we follow up the northern stream of evolution into Asia, we find that the Indian people traveled the farthest, and after amalgamation with other elements, built up ancient Indian culture. But more to the north, in the region of Persia, we find an ancient civilisation known in later history as the Zarathustrian culture. When we investigate this Zarathustrian culture with super-sensible sight, we find that the characteristic of its people was to look more to the outer world, and to advance towards the spiritual world by this path. In view of this characteristic it is evident why Zarathustra, the leader of this ancient Persian culture, attached less importance to inner, mystical absorption, and why he was in a way opposed to it. Zarathustra pointed more particularly to the external sense world and to the visible sun, in order to call men's attention to the existence behind this visible sun of a spiritual Solar Being, Ahura Mazdao.

This is an exact instance of the path followed by initiates of the northern peoples. The highest form of this more external realisation of the spiritual world was developed in ancient Persian culture under the leadership of the original Zarathustra.

This form of outer perception was less and less perfect the further the peoples had lagged behind the ancient Persians who pressed on to Western Asia. Other peoples remained behind in Asia and Europe, but the tendency of them all was to look more towards the external world, and all their initiates chose the path of pointing out to their followers the spiritual world behind the veil of the outer sense world.

In Europe, if we make use of spiritual sight, we find in that wonderful Celtic culture which really underlies all other European culture the remnant of what arose as a result of the cooperation of the mind of the peoples with the wisdom of the initiates. Today Celtic wisdom has very largely been lost, and can be deciphered only to a certain extent by those who have spiritual vision. Wherever ancient Celticism still shines out as the fundamental basis of other European civilisations, there you have an echo of still older European civilisations which, although their paths were in reality the same, remained with the mighty Zarathustrian culture in so far as the characteristics of their peoples were concerned. According to the external distribution of the people their path to the spirit differed.

It must be understood that the interplay of Man with the external world, whether it be the external spiritual world or the external sense world, has no effect upon him. Experiences that arise are not a kind of cosmic reflection, but exist in order to bring about the progress of humanity in a perfectly definite way.

[Characteristics Northern stream]

Now what, in reality, is Man of a particular age? Man is the result or product of the activities of cosmic powers surrounding him, and is fashioned according to the way in which these cosmic powers permeate him. A Man who inhales healthy air develops his organs correspondingly, and the same thing happens to the spiritual organism of a Man who absorbs one or another kind of spiritual life and culture. Since the bodily organism is a product of the spiritual it is affected accordingly. Human evolution is a continuous process and so it is clear that in all the peoples of this northern stream the development of the external bodily qualities is noticeable, for the forces and powers of the outer world — everything that can fashion from without — were the special ones which streamed into them. Through these outer forces was developed what can be seen and perceived outwardly. Hence in these peoples, we find not only a development of warlike qualities, but also an instrument of ever increasing suitability for penetrating the external world; the brain itself grows to greater perfection under the influence of these external forces.

The fundamental factors, therefore, for understanding the external world are present in men belonging to this northern stream, and only from them could be derived that spiritual culture which led finally to the mastery of the powers and forces of external nature.

It may be said that the principal task of these people consisted in perfecting Man's outer instrument, that part of him which is perceptible from without, not only in a physical but also in an intellectual, moral and aesthetic sense.

More and more of the spirit was poured into the outer corporeality. Physical corporeality was developed to greater and greater perfection, and so the individual souls passing from one incarnation to another were generally able to find better vehicles in succeeding births, not only in a physical, but also in a moral sense.

[Characteristics southern stream - Egyptian and Greek]

Now let us enquire what special characteristic developed among the peoples who took the more southern way. It was of course the refinement of the life of the soul, the inner life.

The conception of conscience is not to be found in olden times among those peoples whose task was the spiritualisation of the outer corporeal qualities. Conscience as a conception arises from among the southern peoples; among them the inner life of the soul was enriched with ideas and conceptions to such an extent that it finally developed into that wealth of secret hermetic science possessed by the ancient Egyptians which amazes us even today. The wisdom of the Egyptians, held in such high honour by those who have knowledge of such matters, could only arise as the result of the development of the inner soul life. All the art and the wisdom which Man had to develop from within appeared in the stream of evolution, wherein less importance was attached to the spiritualisation of the external corporeality than to the refinement and elaboration of the inner forces of the soul.

Let us now consider Greek sculpture.

  • When a Greek sculptor wished to represent a physical body purified and spiritualised; he produced a type of the northern peoples. All the external forms of Zeus, of Aphrodite, of Pallas Athene, are racial types of the north.
  • Where it was a matter of indicating the inner development of the life of the soul, it was necessary to show that forces develop invisibly within the soul, and then such a figure as Hermes or Mercury was produced. The form of Hermes is that of the African peoples, and it differs from the figures of the other gods; the ears are different, so is the hair, and the eyes are narrow and unlike the eyes of the northern types. It was known that this type of humanity represented the vehicle of the scientific element, of wisdom, of everything which works upon the soul, and with this was connected the conception of Hermes as messenger to the lower gods.

[Northern and Southern streams]

Again we might characterise the difference between the two evolutionary streams by saying that

  • the northern peoples worked at the production of a human being whose outer bodily form is an image of the spirit; whereas
  • the southern peoples were busy developing the invisible forces of soul, perceptible only when the gaze is directed inwards (to the inner life).


  • The northern races created the outer aspect of the image of divinity in Man;
  • the southern peoples created the invisible soul-image of the godhead in the inner life.

[Southern streams - Inner Gods - world of Lucifer]

Thus the gods of the southern peoples are invisible divinities which Man contacts in his inner nature, who arouse a certain fear and dread, but who from another aspect inspire trust and confidence. It has been pointed out that a Man sees these gods of the inner world according to his own nature; if he is morally, developed he confronts these gods with moral qualities of soul and their true image is revealed; their essence flows into him and he experiences inner illumination and enlightenment. If a Man is immoral and his conceptions are bad, or ugly, or untrue he perceives a distorted image of this world of the gods; fearful demoniacal shapes and figures appear, even as the most beautiful face is twisted and caricatured if observed in a spherical mirror. This is why a Man confronting these inner gods might feel them to be friendly, intimate spiritual companions, pouring forces into the very depths of soul life, belonging to him in the most intimate sense, strengthening and illuminating him; but if he saw them in images distorted by his own qualities, horror and terror might arise; he could be tormented, persecuted and led to the wildest excesses of life just because of their manifestation in the grotesque image of his lower passions. From this we may judge why care was taken that no unprepared human being should meet these particular gods; but where access was made possible to the spiritual world a preliminary development of the moral nature was imperatively demanded, and a very thorough preparation was ensured; the initiates were never tired of giving warning about the dangers awaiting weak souls at the meeting with these gods.

In accordance with the nature of the powers holding sway in the spiritual world accessible to the southern peoples it is called the world of Lucifer, the Light-bearer. It is a world, spiritual and divine in its nature, illumined in the inner being of man by a light invisible to outward sight and which has to be acquired by the process of individual perfecting. This was the path which people of the southern evolutionary stream took to the world of Lucifer.

[Northern stream]

As we have seen, the ideal before the more northern stream was the production of a human individuality, so perfect, so full of spirit, so noble in regard to everything in life between birth and death, that the outer body should be a worthy vessel for spirituality of the very highest order.

And in Zarathustra, the being who had most truly shown the way to the spiritual world behind the veil of sense phenomena, there arose the thought that an outer body must be created by so moral, intellectual and spiritual a force as should bring it to the highest point of spirituality of which an external body is capable. And since this thought first arose in Zarathustra, he set himself the task of reaching an increasingly lofty standard of perfection, living through every succeeding incarnation in bodies of higher moral, aesthetic and intellectual qualities. Zarathustra, then, brought these physical qualities to such a point of excellence that his body became not a mere image of the divine world of spirit, but a vessel for the reception of the Godhead otherwise to be seen only behind the veil of the sense world.

That to which the old Zarathustra had pointed as the world of Sun Beings behind the physical sun, as the hidden spirit of the Good — Ahura Mazdao, needed, as it approached nearer and nearer to the Earth, to find a dwelling place within a body of great spiritual perfection. And so in one of his incarnations, Zarathustra appeared in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, a body so spiritualised, so noble that into its external corporeality could be poured that spiritual essence formerly to be found only behind the veil of the sense world.

The human body which had been developed in the northern evolutionary stream by the turning of the external gaze to the spiritual world was prepared for the reception of the spiritual essence concealed behind the sense world. For in this manner, preparation was made for the mighty event of the reception of the spirit behind the sense world, invisible to all save spiritual sight, upon Earth, and its maturing there for three years in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Hence it devolved upon the northern peoples not only to develop an understanding of what lay behind the sense world, but to prepare for the possibility of that spirit flooding our earthly world, of the being heretofore hidden behind the sun, treading the Earth for three years, as man among men.

Thus Lucifer had entered into humanity in the southern peoples, and Christ into the northern peoples, each in conformity with the characteristics of the two streams of evolution.

[Meeting of two streams]

We ourselves live at a time when the two streams must unite as the male and female fertilising substances of plants coalesce; we live at a time when

  • the Christ who was drawn from outside as an objective Being into the purified body of Jesus of Nazareth must be understood through deep contemplation on the part of the soul,
  • and its union with the world of spirit to be discovered in the inner being, the world arising from Lucifer's kingdom.

In this way will come to pass the mutual fertilisation of these two evolutionary streams of men.

It has already begun; it began at the moment indicated in the story which tells us that the sacrificial blood of the Christ flowing from the cross was received into the vessel of the Holy Grail and brought to the West from the East, where preparation for the understanding of the incarnation of Christ had been made in a very definite way by cultivating that which represents the light of Lucifer.

In this way the union of these two streams in humanity will become more and more complete. Whatever mankind of the present time may say or do, the healing of the future humanity will be accomplished by the fact that within the union of the two streams, the mighty Christ Being, guiding as He does the evolution of the universe and of man, is understood through the light received by the soul from within, out of the kingdom of Lucifer.

Christ will give the substance, Lucifer the form, and from their union will arise impulses which shall permeate the spiritual evolution of mankind, and bring about what the future has in store for the healing and the blessing of the peoples.


The way had to be opened for the revival of the ancient wisdom during the ages to come and for placing it gradually in the service of the understanding of Christ. This could only be accomplished by the creation of Mystery wisdom. Those men who came over into and beyond Europe from old Atlantis brought with them great wisdom. In old Atlantis the majority of the people were instinctively clairvoyant; they could see into spiritual realms. This clairvoyance could not develop further; and withdrew perforce into separate personalities in the West.

It was guided there by a being who once upon a time lived in deepest concealment, withdrawn behind those who had already forsaken the world and who were pupils of the great initiates. This being had remained behind in order to preserve for later ages what was brought over from old Atlantis.

Among the great initiates who had founded mystery places in the West for the preservation of the old Atlantean wisdom, a wisdom that entered deeply into all the secrets of the physical body was the great Skythianos, as he was called in the Middle Ages. And anyone who knows the nature of the European mysteries knows that Skythianos is the name given to one of the greatest initiates of the Earth.


In the same way we shall attain to an understanding of Skythianos, whose teaching deals not only with the reincarnation of men but with the powers which rule from eternity to eternity.


internet translation of German extract below

The Postatlantean cultures emerged from two currents.

Apart from that which went west and populated present-day America, two streams of emigrants, led by their leaders, went east: one northward and the other southward.

The northern, of which certain parts remained in Europe, penetrated farther into Asia.

[what would become the Northern stream]

While new cultures were being prepared and played out, the European population lived through the centuries as if waiting. Her strength was held back, as it were, for what was to come. In their essential cultural elements, they were influenced by that great initiate who chose this field for himself as far as the Siberian regions and who is called the initiate Skythianos.

The leaders of the European primitive culture were inspired by him, which was not based on what came to mankind as thinking, but on an ability to absorb an element that stood in the middle between what one could call recitative-rhythmic language and a kind of singing accompanied by a peculiar music that no longer exists today, but was based on an interplay of pipe-like instruments. It was a peculiar element, the last remnant of which lived in the bards and skalds. Everything that is told in the Greek myth of Apollo and Orpheus developed from there. In addition, practical skills were developed in Europe through settlement, building and so on.

[what would become the Southern stream]

The other masses of people have crossed over to Asia under the leadership of the great Sun Initiate. The most advanced post formed the first Postatlantean culture under the leadership of the Rishis.

see DE version here

Die nachatlantischen Kulturen sind aus zwei Strömungen hervorgegangen. Abgesehen von dem, der nach Westen ging und das heutige Amerika bevölkerte, ergossen sich zwei Ströme auswandernder Menschen unter Leitung ihrer Führer nach Osten, der eine in nördlicher, der andere in südlicher Richtung.

Der nördliche, von welchem gewisse Teile in Europa zurückblieben, drang weiter bis nach Asien hinein. Während sich da neue Kulturen vorbereiteten und abspielten, lebte die europäische Bevölkerung wie abwartend durch die Jahrhunderte hindurch. Es waren ihre Kräfte gleichsam zurückgehalten für das, was kommen sollte. Sie waren in ihren wesentlichen Kulturelementen beeinflußt von jenem großen Eingeweihten, der sich dieses Feld bis in die sibirischen Gegenden hinein ausersehen hat, und den man den Eingeweihten Skythianos nennt. Von ihm waren inspiriert die Führer der europäischen Urkultur, welche nicht auf dem fußte, was als Denken in die Menschheit kam, sondern auf einer Aufnahmefähigkeit für ein Element, das in der Mitte stand zwischen dem, was man nennen könnte rezitativ-rhythmische Sprache und eine Art von Gesang, begleitet von einer eigentümlichen Musik, die heute nicht mehr vorkommt, sondern auf einem Zusammenspiel von pfeifenartigen Instrumenten beruhte. Es war ein eigenartiges Element, dessen letzter Rest in den Barden und Skalden lebte. Alles, was der griechische Apollo- und Orpheusmythos erzählt, hat sich von daher herausgebildet. Daneben wurden in Europa die praktischen Fähigkeiten herausgebildet durch Besiedelung, Bebauung und so weiter.

Die andern Völkermassen sind unter der Führung des großen Sonnen eingeweihten nach Asien hinübergezogen. Der vorgeschobenste Posten hat unter der Führung der Rishis die erste nachatlantische Kultur gebildet.


In Europe in the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries A.D. a cultural age was prepared that began in the fifteenth century and still continues today. It was gradually to replace the fourth, Greco-Latin, period. It is the fifth post-Atlantean culture period. The peoples, which after various migrations and most manifold destinies had made themselves pillars of this age, were descendants of those Atlanteans who had had the least contact with what had occurred in the meantime in the four preceding cultural ages. They had not penetrated into the regions in which the cultures in question took root, but they had in their way continued the Atlantean cultures.


In this lecture Rudolf Steiner "reveals a law" which represents a "great truth" regarding the fact that the West must receive a fructification from the East.

Below follows just the short relevant extract, for full lecture extract putting the below in context, see Human races#1910-06-10-GA121

[West and East]

Therefore it is only natural that, in a certain way, the people who go to the country which lies more to the West, must again obtain refreshment from the East, they must receive an impulse from the East; but the Central European domain must call to mind its own productivity, such as existed before the formation of peninsulas.

That is the reason why precisely in Europe, — I mean in the part embracing our two countries, Scandinavia and Germany, — Man is compelled to reflect upon his own soul-nature, and why on the other hand we must look precisely in the West for that portion of humanity which is to receive something from the East. That is deeply rooted in the whole character of earthly humanity.


The law thus revealed verifies itself more and more, the further the countries lie to the West. These great truths can only be indicated.

They give us that which is in conformity with the inner character of our mission in every part of the surface of the Earth.


provide a comparative sketch on the two streams and how the development of the I and state of consciousness was different

eg on 16th:, from the synopsis:

The Celtic group soul or folk-spirit had task of educating youthful I of European peoples, this was done by Druids. As it became necessary for Folk-spirits to teach men independence, so the mysteries began to withdraw, and they withdrew into more secret depths. The successive stages of post-Atlantean civilisation (see diagram). Scandinavia, Rome, the Peninsulas, France, Britain, in relation to the I.


[link Celtic culture to Persian]

We find similar things happening to all great founders of religions through all the regions of the Caspian Sea and even into Western Europe. We find people (without their having raised themselves through their own development) who are ensouled by a spiritual being so that they can become leaders of mankind. Numerous legends and sagas exist among Celtic peoples. They tell of a founder of religion, one Habich, he was exposed as a child and was nourished by heavenly cows, hostile forces appeared later on and drove away the animals — in short, the accounts of the dangers to the Celtic leader Habich are such that one can almost say they were extracts from certain of the miracles of Zarathustra. While we recognise Zarathustra as the greatest of these personalities, certain features of his miracles are found everywhere, all through Greece and as far as the Celtic countries of the West. As a well-known example we have only to think of the story of Romulus and Remus.

[Two streams]

This is the other way in which the leaders of mankind arose. In speaking of it we have described, in a deeper sense, what we have often considered before: the two great streams of civilisation of Postatlantean times.

After the great catastrophe of Atlantis

  • one of these streams continued to spread and develop throughout Africa, Arabia and Southern Asia;
  • the other, which took a more northerly course, passed through Europe and Northern Central Asia.

Here these two streams eventually met. All that has come to pass as a result of this is comprised in our Postatlantean culture.

  • The northern stream had leaders such as I have just described in Zarathustra;
  • the southern, on the other hand, those such as we see in their highest representative in the great Buddha.

[Christ event]

If you recall what you already know in connection with the Christ Event you might ask: How does the Baptism by John in Jordan now strike us?

The Christ came down and entered into a human being — as Divine Beings had entered into all the leaders and founders of religions — and into Zarathustra as the greatest of these. The process is the same, only here it is carried out in its sublimest form: Christ entered into a human being. But He did not enter this human being in childhood. He entered it in its thirtieth year, and the personality of Jesus of Nazareth had been very specially prepared for this event. The secrets of both sides of human leadership are given us in synthesis in the Gospels. Here we see them united and harmonised.

While the evangelists, Matthew and Luke preferably, tell us how the human personality was organised into which the Christ entered; the Gospel according to Mark describes the nature of the Christ, tells of the kind of Being he himself is. The element that filled this great individual is what is especially described by Mark. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us in a wonderfully clear manner a different account of the temptation from that given in the Gospel of Mark, because Mark describes the Christ who had entered into Jesus of Nazareth. Hence the story of the temptation has here to be presented as it occurred formerly in the childhood of such great persons: the presence of animals is mentioned and the help received from spiritual powers. So that we have a repetition of the miracles of Zarathustra when the Gospel of Mark states in simple but imposing words:

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness (loneliness). And he was there in the wilderness with the wild beasts; and the angels (that is spiritual beings) ministered unto him.” (Mark I, 12-13).

The Gospel of Matthew describes this quite differently, it describes what we perceive to be somewhat like a repetition of the temptation of Buddha; this means the form temptation assumes at the descent of a man into his own Being; when all those temptations and seductions approach to which the human soul is liable.

We can therefore say

  • the Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the path the Christ travelled when He descended into the sheaths that had been given over to him by Jesus of Nazareth; and
  • the Gospel according to Mark describes the kind of temptation Christ had to pass through when He experienced the shock of coming up against His surroundings, as happens to all founders of religions who are inspired and intuited by spiritual beings from above.

Christ Jesus experienced both these forms of temptation, whereas earlier leaders of mankind only experience one of them.

He united in Himself the two methods of entering the spiritual world; this is of the greatest importance; what formerly had occurred within two great streams of culture (into which smaller contributory streams also entered) was now united into one.

It is when regarded from this standpoint that we first understand the apparent or real contradictions in the Gospels. Mark had been initiated into such mysteries as enabled him to describe the temptation as we find it in his Gospel; the “Being with wild beasts,” and the ministration of spiritual beings. Luke was initiated in another way. Each evangelist describes what he knows and is familiar with. Thus what we are told in the Gospels are the events of Palestine and the Mystery of Golgotha, but told from different sides.

[Distinction between adept/initiate and the spiritual beings working in him]

In stating this I wish once more to put before you, from a point of view we have as yet not been able to discuss, how human evolution has to be understood; and also how we must understand the intervention into it of such individuals as are passing on from the evolution of a Bodhisattva to that of a Buddha. We have to understand that the main thing in the evolution of these men is not so much what they are as men, but what has come down into them from above. Only in the form of Christ are these two united, and it is only when we realise this that we can rightly understand this form. We can also understand through this the many inequalities that must appear in mythical personalities.

When we are told that certain spiritual beings have done this or that, in respect of what is right or wrong, and have done, for instance, what Siegfried did, one often hears people exclaim: “And yet he was an Initiate!” But Siegfried's individual evolution does not come under consideration as regards a personality through whom a spiritual being is working. Siegfried may have faults.

But what matters is that through him something had to be given to human evolution. For this a suitable personality had to be found. Everyone cannot be treated alike; Siegfried cannot be judged in the same way as a leader who belonged to the southern stream of culture, for the whole nature and type of those who sunk down within their own being was different.

Thus one can say: A spiritual being entered the forms belonging to the northern culture, compelling them to transcend their own nature and rise into the macrocosm. While in the southern stream of culture a man sank down into the microcosm, in the northern stream of culture he poured himself forth into the macrocosm, and by doing so he learnt to know all the spiritual hierarchies as Zarathustra learnt to know the spiritual nature of the Sun.

The law contained herein can be summed up as follows:

  • The mystic path, the path of Buddha, leads a Man so far within his own inner being that breaking through this inner being he enters the spiritual world.
  • The path of Zarathustra draws a Man out of the microcosm, sending his being forth over the macrocosm so that its secrets become transparent to him. The world has as yet little understanding of the mighty spirits whose mission it is to reveal the secrets of the great universe. For this reason very little real understanding of the nature of Zarathustra has spread abroad, and we shall see how greatly what we have to say concerning him differs from what is usually said of him.

is the key lecture to understand the two streams

The full relevant extract is added here below as it is not available online in English anywhere else yet.

quote A


It is perhaps not very well known that not only did the entire soul makeup of human beings change over the course of time, but that the things people considered necessary for social life also went through a process of transformation. I have spoken of such matters several times in previous lectures. I have, for example, pointed outt that during the Roman Empire it was not a normal societal demand for children to learn the multiplication tables. On the other hand, it was very common for every child to learn the Twelve Tables of Law before they grew into adults. The perspective on what should constitute the common base of knowledge changed significantly over time. This is connected with the whole evolution of humanity.

In order to gain perspective on the most important aspects of this connection, it is first necessary to direct our attention to the true form of the events of human evolution.

[Atlantean epoch and migrations]

Before there was a society of people, the likes of which we now know, in Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, there was a broad conti­nent in the area where the Atlantic Ocean is now. Essentially, at one time the surface of the Earth was the area of Europe between Africa on one side and America on the other, and the majority of Europe, Africa, Asia, and America was underwater.

We know that this continent of Atlantis, as we call it, sank in the wake of a tremendous and significant catastrophe. We have also spoken often in the pastt about how a series of migrations took place away from Atlantis, as it became increasingly uninhabitable, toward the rising land masses that today make up Europe, Asia, and Africa. Basically (you can read about this in my Outline of Esoteric Science), the first people to populate Europe, Asia, and Africa were the descen­dents of the inhabitants of ancient Atlantis.

[start of key section]

At that point in history, though, significant differences between the various populations began to appear, and the lasting effects of this differentiation are still present today. We can still understand these differences when we say to ourselves, "There were certain portions of the Atlantean population that went to the East." We will disregard America for the moment, though it, too, was populated by some descendents of Atlantis. But for now we will disregard it.

So, there were certain portions of the Atlantis population that moved east. Some of them went as far as Asia, and from these populations of people that moved from west to east there developed those cultures that we refer to as the Ancient Indian culture, the Ancient Persian culture, the Egyptian-Chaldean culture, then later the Greco-Roman culture, and now in Europe the fifth Postatlantean culture in which we are currently living, which began in the middle of the fifteenth century.

But these cultures developed in the following way:

  • certain portions of the migrating peoples found themselves impelled by the constitu­tion of their bodies and souls to migrate the farthest into Asia.
  • Others stayed back in Europe.
  • Of course, later there was another migration, which is even spoken of in public histories, during which certain portions of the Asian population moved toward Europe again.

But the population of Europe today

  • is not solely (though it is in part) made up of the descendents of those people who migrated from Asia into Europe;
  • rather, the population of Europe today is also made up of the descendents of those who remained in Europe during the eastern migrations away from the continent of Atlantis.

And much of what is still living today in European people can be attributed to the constitution of their bodies and souls, and its presence there can be explained by the fact that even those people who remained in Europe, and did not migrate all the way from Atlantis to Asia were afflicted with the same things in their bodies and souls.

In Europe, we are consequently dealing with a convergence of the most diverse elements of different populations. The fact that a certain portion of the population went to Asia while another remained in Europe - this created a significant difference, a significant differen­tiation between the European and Asian populations.

[Stream A - the Southeastern stream]

Those people who by the eighth, seventh, and sixth millennia had already made it into Asia had evolved in such a way that they had already taken into their souls the culture of human spirituality as it could develop on the Earth. Even today, you can still notice in the people of Asia, which has in some respects lost its way, that they have cultivated this spiritual and intellectual element in the very being of their souls. We can say (and we are not speaking figuratively; this is the whole truth),

"This Eastern population, which is the most preeminent branch of the Asian peoples, has not allowed the body to take on a large role in their evolution and development."

Everything that is conceived and experienced, and even to a certain extent lived in the decadence of the Asian culture, is not dependent upon the bodily characteristics of a human being. It is all extremely dependent upon the character­istics of the soul. This is why in Asia today, it is not possible for the spiritual culture—which does not exist in the same way it once did, but also is not as highly valued because historical documents do not say much about it—to develop any further. It is a spiritual culture that can only be marveled at by anyone who looks into the enormous spiritual depths that the Asian people of several thousand years ago were able to plumb.

The information that has been passed down through history, what can be learned from historical documents—these things do not offer a picture of what existed in Asia as a kind of primary human wisdom. All that can be extracted today from historical documents or the works of ancient thinkers about Chaldean astronomy, the wisdom of Indian Brahmins, the wisdom of the ancient Egyptians — all of these are later products of this wisdom. All of these things are evidence of a great, wonderful, profound insight into the spiritual world. They point to a great and profound scientific connection that people back then were able to see between the Earth and the whole of the cosmos, the entire heavens above them. The people in Europe today are simply not structured in such a way that they are able to understand, even in retrospect, what was known in these ancient times; and they do not value it because they do not know how to begin to understand it. They have no possibility of directing their understanding toward these matters.

But everything that was experienced through this incredible wisdom that once existed over in the East was experienced in such a way that everything these people learned spiritually, they took up purely in their souls - their bodies had little or no part in the experience. Then, as you already are aware—and you will find the details of this in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact —the view of Christianity that people were able to achieve emerged from every­thing that was taken from this incredible wisdom of the ancient East. Essentially, this view of Christianity is a direct offshoot of the ancient East. And partly through its connection with the Greeks, and partly through the transformation it underwent through the Mystery of Golgotha, the ancient wisdom itself came to Europe.

Now direct your attention to something that is of particular importance: Those things, which in the East were developed in the soul without the participation of any bodily organization - those [things] traveled through southern Europe and Africa into the rest of Europe, encountering the populations of people who, (with the exception of those who had migrated back to Europe from Asia), were otherwise the descendents of the people who had chosen not to go all the way to the East during the migrations away from Atlantis.

[Stream B - the Northwestern stream]

And so the ques­tion arises: What was different about the constitution of those people who stayed behind, that made them decide not to travel to Asia, but remain in Europe?

This brings us to something of incredible significance. We have arrived at a point where we must see clearly that these people who remained behind in Europe during the eastward migrations from Atlantis experienced all that they knew both outwardly and inwardly; every insight into the spiritual world or about the social and economic and commercial ordering of the world—they experienced all of this through the functions of their physical bodies. In the foundation of the European population lies the fundamental fact that the vast majority of Europeans primarily take up everything they experience through the structure of their physical bodies. The people who jour­neyed farther to the East were so constituted that they took up more within their souls; because it was not naturally given to them, they neglected the development of their physical functions and everything that was to be taken up through the physical directly from the world and from human organizations. In building the foundations of their culture, the Europeans made use of the physical mechanism of their brains, the physical mechanism of their whole bodies.

And consequently, we now have a very strange phenomenon before us: what developed in Asia from an incredible primary wisdom, and has ultimately given us a view of Christianity, has now found its way to Europe and been taken up there under entirely different circum­stances and conditions than the ones under which it was developed in Asia.

In Asia it was developed purely in the soul; in Europe it is taken up through the body.

How is it possible that it could be taken up through the body?

It could be taken up through the body because actually the bodies of Europeans evolved such that they are able to become the proper vehicles of the spiritual. The physical form, the bodies of Asians, were not structured in this way. The populations of Europe remained behind so that in the climate and other cultural conditions of ancient Europe they could make their bodies receptive and prepared to take up experiences of knowledge, impulses of the will, and so on.

[Reflection on key point just made]

In the context of the entire world structure, it is necessary to have one perspective on one thing and an entirely different perspective on some other thing; but truly everything has a place in the world and brings something good to it. Some people are not able to understand this. It is true that we make attempts to point out the detriments of materialism, but on the other hand, we must also recognize that materialism had to come into the world until the nineteenth century. Only now must we move beyond it. Some people, in regard to such questions, find it much more comfortable to say: "The human body is simply the machine in which the soul resides; the soul is heavenly, the body earthly—let us abide in the realm of soul." This is a comfortable understanding of life. But this is the service that materialism has performed in the world. It has taught people that the body also participates in the spiritual realm, that among certain elements of the human races, the body was structured such that it could take up the spirit.

And the most distinguished people were those impacted by Christianity.

  • In the very beginning of the time when Christianity spread throughout Europe, the bodies of the European people were good receptive instruments for the taking up of Christianity; because they had been formed in a particular way by the spiritual world, the physical brains of the European people were excellent receiving instruments for Christianity. And while in Asia, Christianity entered a culture that, after a centuries-long, millennia-long evolution, was a culture meant only for souls in Europe—though Christianity in Asia encountered a decadent and dying culture, a soul culture well-suited to ancient times but no longer good for the age in which Christianity came into the world—this Christianity encountered receptive people who had a physical body structured such that they grew into this Christianity, making their bodies into receiving instruments for it. For in these bodies, there still lived much spirit—cosmic spirit, nature spirit. This is precisely what is significant about the first popu­lation of Europe and people after Atlantis—that in their bodies, there was spirit, and that Christianity was taken up in this spirit present in their bodies.
  • But this spirit gradually disappeared. This spirit ceased to exist. This spirit did not remain in the bodies of Europeans. And this is at the core of the transition that occurred in the middle of the fifteenth century C.E. - that essentially, the nature spirit present in the bodies of Europeans began to disappear; that their bodies began to lose their ability to understand through their physicality what they had at once taken up with a vigorous strength (vigorous because it was bodily) as Christianity. Consequently, a true understanding of Christianity dissipated gradually after the fifteenth century. Only the traditions of it remained. The relationships that lie at its core are actually misun­derstood.

[Parenthesis illustration - difference in blood]

In everyday physical science, they are misunderstood completely. It is believed that it is possible to study a human being by taking a corpse into a laboratory and anatomizing it. In doing this, one learns only the littlest bit about human beings, for the intricate structure of this human being changes almost from one century to the next. Human beings from one century are, as regards the intricate details of their physical constitution, entirely different from the human beings of previous centuries. Because this does not appear on a large scale and cannot be detected with crude scientific methods, people do not want to hear about it. But a human being is a very intricate and complex structure, and something that evolves after something else in the course of time continues to exist next to what came before.

In the field of crude physical anatomy, there is a belief (though it is only a belief) that if you were to take blood from a Western indi­vidual and then to take blood from an Eastern individual, you would be drawing the same blood. Blood is blood. But this perspective that blood is blood is totally nonsensical when seen from a true and deeper knowledge of the human being. I can explain these matters only with the aid of a schematic and can also offer to you today only the results of far-reaching research. But the results are of extreme importance. If I were to depict something in a drawing to you—understanding that if it were not a drawing, but actual, it would appear somewhat differently—I would draw it something like this. If I were to draw a blood clot in the veins of a Western individual's living body, I would draw it like this (see drawing a). If I were to draw a blood clot in the veins of a Russian individual, I would have to draw it like this (see drawing b).

The way in which one set of these lines relates to the other set is the way in which the inner, physical character of the blood in an Eastern individual relates to the blood in a Western individual. But the development of blood is connected with what I described earlier as physical receptivity.

This physical, bodily receptivity, as I said, has disappeared. Today, at least for the people in western Europe and America, the bodily offers nothing spiritual. The spiritual must be sought through other pathways, the pathways offered by anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science. We can say (to put it bluntly): The spiritual elements taken in through the physical body, which served to provide an understanding of Christianity until the middle of the fifteenth century—those spiritual elements have petrified. In the Western world today, people are living in petrified bodies; and everything practiced in the West is part of a purely mechanistic culture, which comes from the dead, petrified structures of the physi­cal body.

So this change is not as simple as the way in which current, abstract historians depict it; rather it is a change that deeply affects the inner being of our human bodies.

Most people close themselves off to what I have said to you just now.

quote B

And this thing that our will comes to grips with—it must be there.

If it is not, then all of the well-intentioned people who say, for example: "Christianity must always be present in the world"—they will achieve nothing. For just as you could never draw magnetic attraction out of an un-magnetized piece of iron, so can you never (should nothing else come into human life) get true Christianity out of what has become of Europeans. It might be able to live on in a traditional form for a time, but people will be taking up that tradition out of a place of untruthfulness.

This is why it is essential that something be grasped in the human soul that will lead to a new understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha, and thereby to a new understanding of the whole of Christianity.

In the ancient, pre-Christian times (as I have indicated before), there was a wide-spread, magnificent, noteworthy primary wisdom, and those who marvel at this pagan wisdom are right to do so; and those who marvel at this pagan wisdom in the time when it was already beginning to resemble Christian wisdom are even more right to do so. The first Christian Church Fathers were actually wiser, much wiser, than their contemporary followers.

Their current follow­ers have forbidden the reading of anthroposophical texts. As you are aware, it has been forbidden for Catholics to read them by decree of the Congregation of Holy Offices in Rome since July 18, 1919.

But the first Christian Church Fathers once said: "What we now call Christianity has always been here, but it existed in other forms, and Heraclitus and Socrates and Plato were all, in their own way, Christians before the Mystery of Golgotha." Naturally, for contem­porary members of Catholic congregations, even though it comes from genuine Fathers of the Church, this statement is heretical—very heretical! But you must admit: It just goes to show you. This

decree of the Roman Catholic Church forbidding that Catholics read anthroposophical books is actually the proper result of the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore, we must recognize that a new spiritual stream must enter the world that allows for a new understanding of Christianity.

As I said, the pre-Christian worldview is, in a certain sense, admi­rable. But it did not extend to certain things such as earthly nature.

And in saying that, I touch upon something that is particularly important to recognize about Earth evolution. In regard to everything that comprises the human as a physical being, human evolution was actually a given.

Sometime in the fifteenth pre-Christian century, still during the time of ancient Atlantis, human beings had, to a certain, more or less completed extent, already developed for themselves all of the details of their physical forms, which have slowly hardened (to a greater or lesser degree) over time. But in regard to the main portion of evolution, the evolution of human cognition, this was not the case. There, something was withheld as a great human epiphany, a knowl­edge of the human being, disseminated through the leaders of the mystery cults until the time of the occurrence at Golgotha.

  • What the ancient pagan sages possessed was essentially a reflection of a much older wisdom, one that was still able to observe things spiritually; but it was all merely a reflection.
  • Then the Mystery of Golgotha entered the world—which is to say that nothing less than something more-than-earthly entered: the Christ Being. Something from spheres that are necessarily more-than-earthly descended to Earth and bound itself to a physical human body—the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Thereby, something happened in earthly human evolution that had never happened in all of the preceding Earth evolution: something cosmic entered humanity. Since the fifteenth century before Christ up until the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, human beings had essentially been living out an inheritance from an earlier time in their soul and head beings, but with new physical bodies. Then, something entered human evolution that bound Heaven and Earth together in a certain sense. A more-than-earthly Being bound itself to a human body.

[And again]

  • It was still possible for the human beings who had remained the furthest behind in Europe to understand such a mystery, the ones who still had certain nature-spiritual aspects in their physi­cal bodies.
  • It was not possible for those who went the farthest into Asia to understand it.

It was, in a manner of speaking, a gift from God for these Europeans to have bodies that, through their physical make-up, were receptive to Christianity. In the fifteenth century, that receptivity ceased, and therefore spiritual knowledge must now come into the world in order to give us a new understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Unless we are able to see into this sequence of human evolution, humanity will cease to progress and will meet its downfall, because what entered Earth evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha will simply vanish. Unless we arrive at a spiritual under­standing of the connection between Earth and the more-than-earthly world, the Mystery of Golgotha cannot continue to live in the world.

2014-07-14 - lecture by Virginia Sease

Extract from report on lecture 'Skythianos Past, Present and Future' in Montréal on 14 July 2014, by Eric Philips-Oxford, based on notes taken by Louis Casgrain.

Skythianos worked from the far western region of Europe, and his impulse was gradually to spread through Europe all the way into what would later become Russia.

Indeed, there were two great streams of humanity that originated out of Atlantis, and both started from the far western region of Europe (Ireland).

  • The first of these was the southern mystery stream, whose leader was Manu. This stream made its way across Europe to Asia and became the ancient Indian culture.
  • The second was the northern stream, led (or inspired) by Skythianos. It also moved eastward into Europe and as it spread generated several secondary mystery streams, such as the Nordic mysteries and the central European mysteries.

Skythianos’ first task was to establish the Hibernian mysteries for the purpose of preserving the ancient wisdom of Atlantean times. It was his goal to ensure that the close connection of human beings with the hierarchies which had existed on Atlantis not be lost. In time, other mystery centres were founded with the same mission, for example in northern and central Europe.  As human beings became more and more immersed in physical reality, Skythianos lifted this centre into the etheric world, from which its influence streamed down into the Hibernian mysteries, thus establishing what we know as the Celtic mysteries.


The Atlantean peoples had had a high degree of clairvoyance and had enjoyed a direct perception of their connection with spirit beings. However, that clairvoyance could not develop beyond a certain point due to the increasing materialisation of conditions on earth. The faculty of clairvoyance was forced to withdraw into the most secret of the Western mystery schools. It is a characteristic of Skythianos that he remains concealed to the greatest degree from ordinary human consciousness.

Skythianos had the task of entering deeply into the mystery of the human body. It was actually only in the Middle Ages that the name 'Skythianos' began to be used to refer to this great being, though it would seem that the name had originated even earlier. According to Rudolf Steiner, he who truly knows European mystery culture must raise his gaze upwards towards the being of Skythianos. This great teacher preserves the secret wisdom of Atlantis and the secret of the human body “from eternity to eternity” – meaning from before Old Saturn to beyond Vulcan.


Note [1] - Terminology

This note talks about

  • the choice for the consistent use of terms Northern and Southern streams of development
  • the relationship between these streams and migrations.

1.1 - use of terms Northern and Southern streams of development

The 'Two streams of development' are denoted on this site as a Northern and a Southern stream.

Now North and South are very broad generic terms, so because they appear in many descriptions they are likely to give rise to confusion.

1/ Maybe a better description would have been to speak of a Northwestern and a Southeastern stream, because there is not only a North-South polarity but also a West-East (see 1910-06-10-GA121). However Rudolf Steiner himself never used this terminology and focused on the Northern and Southern streams

2/ Furthermore the term 'streams' is appropriate because:

  • the two geographical areas and cultures underwent a different development in a period of millenia in the second and third cultural ages, upto the fourth cultural age.
  • the term is also used in the lectures covering Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams

3/ Note that the term 'belts' is used in 1905-11-09-GA054 for the geographical specification of the areas.

1.2 - relationship between these streams and migrations

1/ The two streams of development in the Current Postatlantean epoch are not to be confused with the northern and southern streams talked of in the context of the migrations from Atlantis (though there is an obvious relationship). So we differentiate 'streams of development' (this topic page) from 'migration streams' (see Migrations).

In fact such confusion may easily arise from two pictures, as streams and migrations are mixed up and the mind seems to logically connect a drawing like Wachsmuth's migrations from Atlantis to the Northern and Southern streams of development. This is immediately clear from comparing the visuals, see:

  • the Wachsmuth map Schema FMC00.205 and variant, see: Migrations and Atlantean epoch
  • Schema FMC00.432 and Schema FMC00.438 and variants on this page (see above)


Now with regards the obvious relationship mentioned above:

  • During the Atlantean epoch, the various sub-races populated the world. However, there were key migrations (from the fifth sub-race period) that provided the core branch, also called stock, the seed for the next epoch.
  • Then in the current Postatlantean epoch also migrations also took place over millenia that seeded the various cultures in different locations (and cultural ages), see Schema FMC00.453 and variants. Furthermore also see Central European cultural basin for another example of the mixing of cultures.
  • All these have to be taken together with what is described on this page of 'Two streams of development' which focuses on the development in our current epoch. .

2/ Commentary

One has to realize Rudolf Steiner describes the world population and development of humanity (and 'race') over two full epochs, migrations from the fourth epoch and then migrations also in the fifth current epoch. This is much more complex then just one drawing with arrows can show, as one needs to take a time window of 10 cultural ages and/or sub-races. One cannot make one simple map for millenia.

Also one needs to distinguish between large masses of people moving (eg in the fourth century) and the seeding flows whereby new centers of cultures are developed. The latter flows are migrations of smaller groups of 'stock' that mingle in a certain location and from which a new cultural center was created by initiates and guidance of mankind.

So this has to be placed against a background of the world population, from where some streams are highlighted as they are key to the story of evolution and development of mankind.

The Atlantean migrations played a key role, but what happened further and afterwards over 10.000 years with the two streams of development in the current epoch is different and essential to understand. It is only when one zooms out and takes the whole timeline and complex picture, that one can map this to the development of the threefold soul and human I, and the various impulses given (Krishna impulse, wotan-buddha impulse, Christ ..).

Note [2] - Commentary on different characterisations of the Northern and Southern streams

See aspects above: where it is concisely pointed out that there are differences between characterisation of the two streams in two main lectures:

  • 1920-02-08-GA196
  • 1909-08-27-GA113

The reason for this commentary is because at first read, each lecture gives a different way to visualize the streams:

  • The 1920-GA196 lecture provides the most comprehensive coverage, and focuses on the development of the populations more related to where they were, also as related to how they had migrated. This description is foundational in that it is fully consistent with all descriptions in the lecture coverage of the ancient Northern Germanic mythology (a.o. Ragnarok, Nibelungen) and Mystery School tradition. Hence this is the basis used for Schema FMC00.432, Schema FMC00.438, Schema FMC00.441. => Here the southern is regarded as inner development during cultural ages 1+2+3, whereas the northern developed differently in those ages 1+2+3.
  • The 1909-GA113 lecture takes the characteristics of the northern and southern streams, and also maps them explicitly to the cultural ages. This is the basis for Schema FMC00.205B (adaptation of schema by Wachsmuth). Here the characteristics of the streams are not so clearly split. The 1st age has both northern/southern characteristics, age 2 is northern/outer, and age 3 (and early or first part of 4, the Greek) are clearly southern/inner.

Both perspectives do not necessarily contradict eachother, when one studies the nuances in the finer descriptions, ànd one includes knowledge from the broader body of anthroposophical spiritual scientific knowledge (eg Schema FMC00.047, detailed descriptions of the two first cultural ages, etc).

There is a indeed a difference between the description of the Atlantean migrations (1910-09-01-GA123), and the characteristics of the two streams of development (1920-02-08-GA196) that arose globally as a consequence of all migrations and further mixtures and developments over millenia.

The first perspective looks from the Atlantean epoch onwards (arrows representing movements, initial and consecutive), the second perspective looks backwards from the fourth cultural age in the Current Postatlantean epoch (when both streams met) on the originating influences.

Note [3] - Gothic art

In context of the Two streams of development described on this page, the following is interesting to read. Not quite the same impulses here, but still a similarity of character can be discerned in northern and southern.



in Gothic Art once more two impulses have come together.

The one is carried thither from the North. It contains, if I may describe it so, a practicality of life, a cleverness in skill and understanding, a certain realism. It comes to Europe on the Norman waves of culture. ... Thus we have coming from the North an element of intelligence, utility and realism (but we must not confuse this with the later realism; this early realism sought to understand the Universe, the Cosmos, and wanted to see all earthly things in their connection with the heavenly).

The other impulse comes from Spain, and more especially from Southern France. From the South, on the other hand, and concentrated most of all in Southern France, there came what we may describe as the mystical element, striving upward from the earthly realm and reaching up to Heaven.

Hence the peculiar nature of the Gothic, for these two elements have grown together in it, a mystical element and an intellectual

Related pages

References and further reading