Zodiac streams: seven and five

From Anthroposophy

The division of twelve zodiacal influences into seven ascending and five descending zodiac streams comes is described in 1908-01-27-GA102 and explained in 1905-02-02-GA091.

It relates to the Golden Chain and the Creation by the three Logoi and the creation by conscious free Man and the Human 'I'.

This is one main occurence of the general concept of Twelve as seven and five (more info on that topic page) where we see twelve entities arranged as two sets of seven and five. One of the instances listed is the symbolic meaning implicit in the sign of the 'feeding of the five thousand', that Christ expected his apostles to understand. This most probably refers to the same.

See also: Twelve guiding spirits (and the 1909-08-31-GA113 extract commenting on these zodiac streams).



Schema FMC00.042 represents the seven and five zodiac streams from the Mystical Lamb lecture GA102 but includes the blackboard drawing from GA316 and a more modern drawing for the GA091 lecture. The GA178 refers to the daily path of the Sun.


Schema FMC00.042B is from Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled, and represents Ezekiel's Wheel (as given in many works eg Hargrave Jennings' Rosicrucians).

In Blavatsky, the left image is mentioned as exoteric, the right as esoteric.


Lecture coverage and references


discusses Ezekiel's Wheel in Isis Unveiled Ch. 9 p461-462, see Schema FMC00.042B above:

The diagram represents Ezekiel's Wheel, as given in many works, among others, in Hargrave Jennings' Rosicrucians: These signs are (follow numbers):

1, Aries; 2, Taurus; 3, Gemini; 4, Cancer; 5, Leo; 6, Virgo, or the ascending line of the grand cycle of creation.

After this comes 7, Libra — "man," which, though it is found right in the middle, or the intersection point, leads down the numbers:

8, Scorpio; 9, Sagittarius; 10, Capricornus; 11, Aquarius; and 12, Pisces.

While discussing the double sign of Virgo-Scorpio and Libra, Hargrave Jennings observes (p. 65):

"All this is incomprehensible, except in the strange mysticism of the Gnostics and the kabalists; and the whole theory requires a key of explanation to render it intelligible; which key is only darkly referred to as possible, but refused absolutely, by these extraordinary men, as not permissible to be disclosed."

The said key must be turned seven times before the whole system is divulged. We will give it but one turn, and thereby allow the profane one glimpse into the mystery. Happy he, who understands the whole!


A paragraph in 1904-05-XX-090A adds that the reason why there is Scorpio instead of the Eagle in the Zodiac has to do with the balance between the good and the evil forces (and the fact the evil forces often may prove to be stronger)


At the end of 1905-02-02-GA090B, some light is shed on the seven and five zodiac signs. Below follows a concise summary, freely translated and rephrased. The terminology used is from a unified consciousness at the start 'ishwara' to an outspread distributed consciousness wherein all participate 'atwar' or 'atma'. [editor: This can be mapped to the development of the solar system with the seven planetary stages.]

The point where the ishwara consciousness splits, divides and shares [editor: the divine impuls into humanity] is called esoterically the point of the Libra 'where atma comes out of Ishwara'. The importance is then that there is a duality between the microcosm as an atma-embryo [humanity] whereas the being from which the I originated is the macrocosm with ishwara consciousness working from outside.

From that moment on there is a divide, the virgin aspect of the soul on the one hand (Virgo), and on the other the powerful that one can call willing, the Lion (Leo). These two elements now come together in Man, the hermaphrodite Man, Gemini.

For the transition from Virgo and Leo to Gemini however, the outer has to become the inner (Cancer). We then have in Man this duality that comes out the other side and what before was higher nature now becomes lower nature: Bull. And then the ascent begins again (Aries). The lower nature becomes representative of justice (the Jason saga), and next is that justice does not stay something outer but seizes the inner (kama, astrality, water). We have Pisces, this is the current time with the spiritual scientific movement. Then things continue: Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio and coming back to Libra. A new cycle from God to Man.

What lies between Libra and Aries is the open daily development of humanity on Earth. On the other side we have the hidden development in the divinity, between Libra and Pisces. Outerly visible development lies on one side, all the inner development lies on the other side represented by night or a southern half. Whereas the first includes science, the second is the contents of the mysteries. Of course wisdom shines on the whole. Spiritual science is the revealing of the other side of the night that now becomes day. That is why in Virgo the Sun rises, rises ever higher to Easter: the resurrection of Bull-Man to Aries, and then it goes further through Pisces to full Sun height.


provides a high level introduction (in full in spirhier).

We know that evil does not exist on nirvana budhi plane (ref), but only 'happens' below. The divine is higher than 'Man's cosmos of spirit land and below' and is good only. This is important because atheists often pose evil as a key argument against the existence of the divine, because of the contradition with god and the divine being the absolute good.

So going back to beyond Old Saturn and the spheres of eternity, before time, and the zodiac:

As soon as that which in the spiritual world (which as I have said is permanent, eternal, having nothing to do with time) passes into time, it divides itself into good and evil.

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

This is only a mere indication serving to show that space, when if forsakes its sphere of eternity and takes into itself created things which run their course in time, is divided into good and evil; and in bringing out the good, seven is raised out of the twelve; seven then becomes the true number for temporal conditions. For truths, which belong to time, we must take the number seven as our clue; the remainder, the number five would lead us into error. That is the inner meaning of these things.


When the Sun passes in summer through the light, his full powers fall upon the Earth; they are the forces of spiritual light sent forth by Ormuzd from his realm of light. The signs of the Zodiac through which Ormuzd passes in the summer or in the daytime reveal his activity unhampered by Ahriman. The signs of the Zodiac below the horizon are symbolical of the realm of shadow through which Ahriman passes.

What, then, are the expressions of Ormuzd (who represents the light part of the Zodiac) and of Ahriman (the dark part), in their activity on Earth?

Now there is a difference between the influence of the Sun in the morning and at noon time. When Ormuzd ascends from Aries to Taurus, the effect of his rays is not the same as when he is descending. His rays differ in summer and in winter and they differ with every sign through which the Sun passes. The course of the Sun through the signs of the Zodiac revealed to Zarathustra the many sides of the activity of Ormuzd, and he beheld here the expressions of spiritual beings who are, as it were, the servants, the “sons” of Ormuzd, who execute his commands. These subservient powers, each having their own special activity, are the “Amschaspands” or “Ameschas Pentas.” While Ormuzd represents the collective activity of the Zodiac, the Amschaspands have to perform the specialised activities expressed in the raying forth of the Sun from Aries, Taurus, Cancer, and so forth. The activity of Ormuzd is expressed in the raying of the Sun through all the light signs of the Zodiac — from Aries to Libra or Scorpio.

According to Zarathustra, Ahriman works from the centre of the Earth, from the darkness where his servants, the Amschaspands, dwell; they are the opponents of the good genii surrounding Ormuzd. Zarathustra distinguished twelve orders of spiritual beings,

  • six or rather seven, on the side of Ormuzd;
  • six, or rather five, on the side of Ahriman.

They are symbolised as good and evil genii, or subservient spirits, according to whether the Sun's course runs through the light or the dark signs of the Zodiac. Goethe was thinking of these helpers of Ormuzd when he wrote at the beginning of Faust, in the Prologue in Heaven: —


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References and further reading