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Atlantis — The Fate of a Lost Land
and Its Secret Knowledge
Six Lectures from GA’s 11, 136, 109-111, 13, and 104

Rudolf Steiner
Introduction by Andrew Wellburn
Translations Revised by Christian von Arnim
Published by Rudolf Steiner Press/UK in 2007
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2014
Chapter: Spiritual Science


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Much of the confusion about the continent of Atlantis seems to stem from modern scientists imagining that a large continent existed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean as we currently understand its Western and Eastern boundaries. A quick glance at the map at right from W. Scott-Elliot's "The Story of Atlantis" (1896) will reveal that the ancient continent predated the current arrangement of continents. Atlantis covered the eastern half of both American continents, and when it disappeared beneath the sea, new continental areas sprung up which defined more closely the current boundaries of the Americas, Europe, and Africa to their modern configuration. If one wished to find remnants of Atlantis, one could dig down beneath Montreal, Tennessee, or Brazil instead of the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, the reason we call this body of water the Atlantic Ocean today is based on the large majority of its watery realm covering what was once the mighty continent of Atlantis, but there are also large areas of hard ground which rose to cover and obscure the full extent the ancient continent.

To try to discover the physical artifacts of Atlantis is pure folly, but to a spiritual scientist like Rudolf Steiner the important discoveries have to do with the spiritual realities within which the ancient Atlanteans lived. As Andrew Welburn in his Introduction states, "Rudolf Steiner describes how the consciousness of the Atlanteans concerning the hidden dimensions of the forces of nature was preserved in its essentials in the esoteric thought and practices of the ancient Mysteries." (Page 5) These practices, he says, provide modern humans a way bringing to life again aspects of the ancient world of Atlantis.

Scientists of the physical world can only examine the dead testimony of history, the bones and stones before historical times, and the word records since the beginning of history. Scientists of the spiritual world can read the text of the Akashic Record which can reveal to readers of that text the living reality of times long before historical times.

[page 11] Those initiated into the reading of such a living script can look back into a much more remote past than is represented by external history, and — on the basis of direct spiritual perception — they can also describe much more reliably the things of which history tells.

Historians of today try to stretch their minds when they encounter structures of huge stones placed tightly together because they cannot imagine how ancient peoples could have moved such huge stones, lacking our coal, gasoline, and electric power of today. The Atlanteans had seed power with which they could move things; the energy which lies dormant in seeds was harnessed by the Atlanteans.

[page 20] Just as we have methods of motion in our steam engines, so the Atlanteans had devices which they fueled — in a manner of speaking — with plant seeds, and in which the life force was transformed into technologically utilizable power. The vehicles of the Atlanteans, which floated a short distance above the ground, were moved in this way. . . . Today, the above-mentioned vehicles of the Atlanteans would be useless. Their usefulness depended on the fact that at that time the cover of air which enveloped the earth was much denser that it is now.

We have a record in the Bible of the density of moisture in the air before the Flood, and that is the first appearance of a rainbow as the rain stopped. One would not accept something as a covenant from God that is a normal event after a rainstorm today. No, the rainbow Noah and his people saw was the first ever rainbow and it signaled the end of the Atlantean Epoch. Rather, one might better say, the reason the story of the Flood and the rainbow appears in the Bible was because a dim memory of the end of the Atlantean Epoch was too important not to share with future generations.

The words of the Rmoahals, the first sub-race of Atlanteans, had a curative effect.

[page 25] The word of the Rmoahals not only had meaning, but also power. The magic power of words is something which was far truer for them than it is for people today. When a Rmoahals person pronounced a word, this word developed a power similar to that of the object it designated. Because of this, words at that time were curative; they could advance the growth of plants, tame the rage of animals and perform other similar functions.

We must not think that ancient peoples were deprived of our modern technology. Why? Because their technology would have existed in ways different from our own, but just as powerful. With the advent of later sub-races, Steiner tells us, "the original fullness of power was gradually lost." (Page 26) He tells us later that in the fifth sub-race, the Original Semites, the power of logical thinking got its start. (Page 30)

[page 30] Human beings began to go beyond a mere remembrance of the past and to compare different perspectives. The faculty of judgment developed. Wishes and appetites were regulated in accordance with the faculty of judgment. People began to calculate, to combine. People learned to work with thoughts.

Psychic powers of the Atlanteans compensated for the softness of their bodies, the first hard human was to be Adam after the end of the Atlantean Epoch, the very name "adam" is the root for hardness in words such as adamantine and diamond. I heard two stories of extraordinary psychic powers in the 1980s. The first involved a woman whose husband was at work when her son was seriously hurt in an accident and she got a call that he was in the hospital. She called her neighbor next door to drive her to the hospital, but she wasn't at home, so she took the keys to the older car in the driveway which she rarely drove and drove quickly to the hospital. Her husband arrived shortly after she did and she explained that their son was doing okay. Her husband said, "How did you get to the hospital so fast?" She said, "I took the old Ford in the driveway." Her husband stammered, "But, but, that's impossible! I took the battery out of the Ford yesterday to buy a new one!" They walked out to the Ford and popped the trunk and sure enough, there was no battery in the car she had just driven to the hospital.

The other story was one that was also amazing. A guy told of a friend of his who suddenly developed super-human strength and could pick up 500-pound objects with ease. He could even pull open cardboard boxes strapped closed with strapping tape, a tape with strong fiberglass threads in it. After hearing the story, I decided to find out if that was possible. I imagined myself opening a cardboard like the guy in the story, leaned over, put my hands, one on each side of the opening, and pulled with all my might. To my amazement, I was able to snap the fiberglass strapping tape, something I would have never attempted if I had not heard that story.

[page 34, 35] A person in ancient Atlantis would have been able to break a section of rail from a railway, let us say, with ease — not because his physical forces were strong, for his bony system had still not developed, but through his magical psychic forces. A similar phenomenon is still to be found today in certain pathological cases who on account of the liberation of strong psychic forces — in that condition the physical body is not properly connected with the higher bodies — can lift and throw heavy objects.

In the story of the guy who could lift heavy weights, more than any weight-lifter, I could hear some signs of mental instability that accompanied his new-found strength. My tearing the strapping tape was my normal strength empowered by the possibility of doing something which I had never considered possible before.

It was from reading Steiner that I first discovered the connection between the Biblical Flood and the sinking of Atlantis beneath the sea.

[page 40] The evolution of the earth has now been described up to the time when the forces of water were unleashed and ancient Atlantis perished. The human beings who were saved from Atlantis made their way in the one direction towards America and in the other towards the Europe, Asia and Africa of today. These great migrations continued over long periods of time.

The forces of water he refers to stems from the enormously heavy mist which covered the entire Earth at that time, a mist which obscured physical vision and made spiritual vision a requirement for the Atlantean peoples. When the sky cleared and revealed the first rainbow to Noah, it marked a time when spiritual vision began to wane and the ability to perceive the outside of things began to wax into prominence, culminating with our present ability to sharply delineate physical realities, but with little or no ability to view spiritual realities. Today we cannot imagine using 'seed forces' for transportation, nor can we imagine clairvoyance as an everyday ability for all humans. I suspect that it is, but we discount the revelations it provides us, having been so carefully taught that it is impossible, so we only get hints that it exists from otherwise unexplainable events in our lives. But these powers were present in full force in these ancient people.

[page 40] Let us now consider ancient Atlantean culture once more. In the earliest period man possessed strong magical powers. With these powers he controlled the seed forces, mastered the forces of nature and in a certain way was still able to see into the spiritual world. Clairvoyance then gradually faded because human beings were destined to found the culture belonging to the earth; they were to descend to earth in the real sense. Thus at the end of Atlantis there were two kinds of human beings within the peoples and races. Firstly, at the height of Atlantean culture there were seers, clairvoyants and powerful magicians who worked by means of magical forces and were able to see into the spiritual world. Besides them were people who were preparing to be the founders of present humanity. They already had within them the rudiments of the faculties possessed by people today.

One cannot understand the evolution of consciousness properly without grasping how the everyday abilities we possess today were highly advanced faculties when they first appeared in scattered human beings of the time. They were, rightly understood, thought to be prophets, harbingers of a future time. Instead of using magical powers, these advanced thinkers used their, elementary compared to ours, faculties of calculation, counting, and reasoning, all of which made them different, and required them to meet together in small groups, because the masses of people did not understand them, a situation similar to the one anthroposophists find themselves in today. These people strove to find their human connection with the physical world, while our task today is to re-establish our connection with the spiritual world. This long in-between period between these ancient people and ourselves was one of focusing on the material aspects of the world so that we might return to a world in which humans might experience the physical world equally with the spiritual world without the ahrimanic influences that would have else derailed our human evolution and made us earthbound forever. Our evolution as humans has required both physical and spiritual evolution, and our goal now is to re-capture in full consciousness our spiritual abilities and blend them with our physical abilities. This is the process, the understanding of the evolution of the full human being, for which Rudolf Steiner coined the word, anthroposophy, to represent, i.e., the anthropos — the full human being in body, soul, and spirit, and -sophy — the knowledge of that full human being.

[page 43] This wisdom is not imparted simply for anthroposophical dogmas to be grasped by the intellect but to understand them with the heart. One is then strong enough to know why anthroposophy is here today. It is here to meet a great challenge of evolution, and the person who knows this also finds the strength to conquer all obstacles, come what may. Such people proceed along their path because they know that what is intended to come to pass through anthroposophy must come to pass for the further progress of humanity on the path to the spirit.

Human beings of ancient times could see into the spiritual world and knew that their destiny was written in the stars. They could remember how they chose the stars to be born under according to the plan they created during their time between death and a new birth for working out the karmic deeds they needed in their new life on earth.

[page 50] In the course of the stars and of the weather, man was to see divine decrees, the emanation of divine wisdom. Astronomy and meteorology were taught with this idea. Man was to arrange his labor, his moral life in such a way that they would correspond to the wise laws of the divine. Life was ordered according to divine commandments, just as the divine thoughts were explored in the course of the stars and in the changes of the weather.

With the advent of thought, humans learned to use fire and make tools, and to do so voluntarily, on their own accord, no longer being driven by spiritual beings to do so, but by their own volition.

[page 51] In early Atlantean times human beings did not use fire since the life force was available for them to use. But with the passage of time they were less and less in a position to make use of this force, hence they had to learn to make tools, utensils from so-called lifeless objects. They employed fire for this purpose. Similar conditions prevailed with respect to other natural forces. Thus human beings learned to make use of such natural forces without being conscious of their divine origin. So it was meant to be. Human beings were not to be forced by anything to relate these things which served their faculty of thought to the divine order of the world. They were, rather, to do it voluntarily in their thoughts.

This was drastically different from the time when divine messengers, such as Manu, directed them; instead they developed the ability to think on their own. With time, humans began to see once again the divine connection, the divine gift provided them.

[page 53] Earthly thinking was to elevate itself to the concept of the divine. The human initiates united themselves with the divine. This represents an important revolution in the development of the human race.

The Magi we know from the Bible were part of these initiates, these great teachers also known as Kings, who led human beings to know of spiritual realities such as the coming of the great Sun Spirit, Christ, to earth following the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

[page 58] They nurtured their mysterious knowledge and the practices that led to it in a special place which we can call the Christ Oracle or Sun Oracle — 'Oracle', that is, in the sense of a place where the intentions of spiritual beings are perceived. What is said here about Christ will be misunderstood unless we consider the fact that supersensory knowledge necessarily sees the appearance of Christ on earth as an event that was foretold by those who were already aware of the meaning of the earth's evolution prior to this event. It would be a mistake to assume that these initiates had a relationship to Christ that would be possible only later, after his actual appearance on earth. However, they were able to grasp in a prophetic way and make comprehensible to their disciples that anyone touched by the power of the Sun Being sees Christ approaching the earth.

We humans received speech as we know it today from spiritual beings during the densification of our human body. We have also received in popular myths and fairy tales remnants of grotesque realities which existed during Atlantean times before the complete densification of the human body. Our bodies, which then lacked hard bony skeletons, could stretch in fantastic ways, as the comic book character called Plastic Man is depicted doing, and as the large ogres are described in fairy tales.

[page 61] During their growth period, people's bodies took shape according to what was forming their souls in a way that seems incredible or even fantastic to our modern way of looking at things. Moral depravity in a person's passions, drives, and instincts resulted in a gigantic increase in material substance.

Luckily we post-Atlanteans beings developed from those "whose bodily forms had already solidified in a way that did not allow them to succumb to soul forces that were contrary to nature." In other words, no ogres survived the Atlantean times, except in myth and folklore as reminders of our ancestral past. But as we humans matured with both physical and life bodies coinciding to a great extent, we lost the remarkable memory abilities of our ancestors, but along with this change we began to experience the ego within the physical body. Losing our memory necessitated the invention of writing and acquiring an ego allowed our writers to speak using the word "I" to refer to themselves. I have written elsewhere about how the words of the pre-writing tale-teller Homer were written down using words which thanked a Muse for providing the words. When Virgil penned the Aeneid epic, on the other hand, many centuries after Homer's time, he said, in effect, "I sing of arms and a man."

As Steiner takes us through the ancient Persian, Indian, Egypto-Chaldean, and Greco-Roman Ages of the fifth-post-Atlantean epoch, we can see how humankind's direct experience of reincarnation got replaced by the various confused interpretations prevalent today, and how we gradually began to value the material things of the world over the spiritual. But that has left us in the precarious position of losing our souls' connection to the spiritual world entirely. We basically moved from understanding the physical world as mere maya as the Indians did, to valuing bricks and building large monuments as the Persians, to valuing laws such as the Hammurabi Code of the Egypto-Chaldeans, to building temples to the spiritual world as the Grecians and Romans did.

Each temple was a place in the physical world that could "express the spiritual world in the perfect form within the physical element." (Page 81) One mistakes the reason for a Greek temple if one imagines that one needed to stand inside the temple to benefit from it. Often the original temples stood out alone in the distance where many people could look up to it and perceive the existence of the spiritual world. For this reason most Greek temples were built on the highest ground of a region, known as an acropolis, the most famous being the Acropolis in Athens, which one can view even from the center of the metropolis today, sitting in an outdoor café.

The Earth itself is such a Temple today, if one could see it with spiritual eyes from outer space.

[page 95, 96] Seen from outside, the earth would then appear in a new light. You would see this event taking place extremely quickly, so that we could say: 'From this moment a fundamental transformation of' the earth took place; its aura has changed completely.' What is this moment? It is the moment when upon Golgotha the blood flowed from the wounds of the Redeemer. This moment is an extremely important one, the most important moment in the whole of the earth's evolution. The moment when the blood flows from the wounds of the Redeemer is the same as that in which the aura of the earth reshapes itself. An entirely new power is created, the power which gives the most important impulse to the evolution of earth, for which all that we have considered up to now was only the preparation.

This is the Mystery of Golgotha which comes at the turning point in human evolution, a point when, left to its own resources, humanity would otherwise lose sight of the spiritual realities completely, and the entire human race would die when the Earth itself passes away. But we live on since that turning point, nourishing our bodies with the bread of Christ and walking upon the body of Christ every day.

[page 97] The earth soul, the spirit of the whole earth, was at that time injected with something new. The Christ-principle united with the earth at that time and the earth has become the body of this Christ-principle. So that the statement 'those who eat my bread tread me underfoot' is literally true. When human beings eat the bread of the earth they eat the body of the earth; and this is the body of the earth spirit which, as the spirit of Christ, has been united with the earth since the event on Golgotha. And when human beings walk upon the earth body, they tread this body underfoot.

This is the essence of the message which Rudolf Steiner brings to us today, a message which comes in modern words from a man who has studied the physical world and has seen the spiritual world as well, and is able to give us the spiritual realities we need to progress as human beings who will survive the passing of the Earth because we deeply realize how we have consumed the Body of Christ and how we have maintained contact with the Body of Christ with every step of our earthbound lives, actions which will fructify our soul and spirit as we continue our ascent into the spiritual realm with the Earth and Christ as our launching pad.

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