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A READER'S JOURNAL:
Astral Body Evolution - The Moon Stage:
The Moon Stage Details
One of the things that occurs many times during the evolution of the cosmos and humanity is a recapitulation. This will be easy to understand for anyone who has worked with their hands very much. One builds something as far as one and discovers that some key part doesn't fit, so one takes it apart, makes the change, and reassembles it with the key part fitting into it nicely. I've encountered this in the design of software systems, websites, garden sheds, wood sculptures, children's toys, and numerous other projects. The taking apart and re-assembling is an essential part of any design project -- the re-assembly involves a recapitulation of the activities performed during a previous assembly.
During the rest stage between Sun and Moon, the etheric or life bodies of the human being are re-absorbed and will require a recapitulation to be re-installed in the physical bodies.
[page 146, 147] Thus these bodies do not appear at this time as something united with the corresponding physical human bodies, but these latter appear at first by themselves. They bear within their inner nature all that has been worked into them on both Saturn and Sun, but they lack an ether or life body. Moreover, they are unable to incorporate this ether body immediately into themselves, for during the pause the ether body itself has passed through a development to which the physical bodies are not yet adapted.-In order that this adjustment may be achieved, once more a recapitulation of the Saturn activities occurs at the beginning of the Moon evolution. The physical life of man recapitulates the stages of the Saturn evolution, but under quite changed conditions. On Saturn, only the forces of a heat body were active within the physical human being; now the forces of the acquired gaseous body are also active within him. The latter, however, do not appear at once at the beginning of the Moon evolution. At that time it is as though the human being consisted only of heat substance, while within the latter the gaseous forces slumbered. Then comes a time when the first indications of these gaseous forces make their appearance, and finally, in the last period of the Moon recapitulation of Saturn activities, the human being reappears as he was during his life-endowed state of the Sun. At this time, however, all life still appears as a semblance of life.
As best as I can sort out what Steiner means by "all life still appears as a semblance of life" is that the life body has not yet returned to human body since the long period of rest (seed stage or pralaya) between Sun and Moon. These periods of rest between major evolutionary stages are not the only pauses that occur in human development; many shorter pauses happen periodically with each stage, as we will read in the next passage.
Another set of processes begin to flow the astral body into the human being with the result that the first soul qualities are acquired and with them the very first desires fill the human being. These are still at the instinctual level and lack inwardness and independence. During Moon the human being is arriving at a level of the animal kingdom in our present Earth stage of evolution.
[page 147, 148] Then a pause occurs similar to the short pauses occurring during the Sun evolution, after which the instreaming of the life body, for which the physical body has now become ripe, begins again. As in the case of the Saturn recapitulation, this influx takes place again in three distinctly separate epochs. During the second of these, the human being is so far adjusted to the new Moon conditions that the Spirits of Motion are able to employ their acquired ability. It consists in allowing the astral body to flow forth from their own essential nature into the human being. They prepared themselves for this task during the Sun evolution and, during the pause between the Sun and Moon evolutions, they transformed what had thus been prepared into the ability alluded to above. This influx of the astral body lasts again for a time, then one of the shorter pauses ensues, after which the instreaming of the astral body of the Spirits of Motion continues until the Spirits of Form begin their activity. Because the Spirits of Motion allow their astral body to flow into the human being, he acquires his first soul qualities. As a result, he now begins to accompany the processes, which occur in him through the possession of a life body and which during the Sun evolution were still plantlike, with sensations and to feel pleasure and displeasure through them; the remains a changing inner ebb and flow of pleasure and displeasure, until the intervention of the Spirits of Form. Then these changing feelings become transformed in such a way that the first traces of longing and desire appear in the human being. He seeks to repeat what has caused pleasure and strives to avoid what has caused sensations of antipathy. Since, however, the Spirits of Form do not give up their own nature to him, but only allow their forces to flow in and out of him, the impulse of desire lacks inwardness and independence. It is guided by the Spirits of Form and bears an instinctive character.
If humans during Moon resemble the evolution of our present day animals, then what about the lower kingdoms during Moon? The answer is that directly below the animal-humans we find during the Moon stage plant-animals and mineral-plants. These hyphenated phrases refer to Moon-Earth beings -- the first word is their status on Moon and the second word, is what their status will be on Earth. Thus a "plant-animal" would refer to a being at the evolution of a plant on Moon with a physical and etheric body that will, in our Earth stage, be known as an animal when it acquires its astral body. The human being on Moon has an astral, etheric, and physical body -- once more we see how the human being is at every stage the highest evolved of the various kingdoms which always lag one stage behind.
[page 148, 149] On Saturn, the human physical body was composed of heat, which on the Sun was condensed to a gaseous state, or air. During the Moon evolution, when the astral flows into the physical body, the latter attains a further degree of condensation at a definite time and reaches a state that may be compared with the density of a present-day fluid. This state may be called "water." We do not mean by this, however, our present water, but any fluid form of existence. The human physical body now gradually takes on a form composed of three substantial organisms. The densest is a water body. This is permeated by air currents, and all this is permeated by the activities of heat.
During the Sun stage, too, not all organisms attain their full and proper maturity. As a result, on the Moon there are organisms that stand only at the Saturn stage, while others have only attained the Sun stage. Because of this two other kingdoms arise alongside the regularly developed human kingdom. One of these consists of beings who have remained behind at the Saturn stage and therefore possess only a physical body, which, even on the Moon, is unable to become the bearer of an independent life body. This is the lowest of the Moon kingdoms. A second kingdom consists of beings who have remained behind at the Sun stage and who, therefore, on the Moon are too immature to incorporate into themselves an independent astral body. These form a kingdom intermediate between the one just mentioned and the regularly advanced human kingdom.
With the presence of three bodies in the human being on Moon, a cleavage occurs in the cosmic sphere of the Moon, resulting in three spheres. Again the microcosm and the macrocosm evolve in synchronism. Simply put, the Sun separates from the Moon taking with it only heat and air substances and leaving behind the denser watery substances. The higher beings of the Sun are unable to accept this dross or grosser material from the Moon into their sphere and continue to develop, -- they must leave it behind and separate from it. Just like in school, where one cannot carry crayons from kindergarten into high school to do one's classwork.
[page 149 - 151] The substances composed merely of the forces of heat, and those composed merely of air also permeate the human beings. Thus it happens that on the Moon the latter bear within themselves a Saturn and a Sun nature. As a result, a kind of cleavage arises in human nature, and through this cleavage, after the Spirits of Form begin their activity, some thing significant is called into existence within the Moon evolution. A cleavage begins in the cosmic Moon body. A part of the Moon's substances and beings separates from the rest. Two cosmic bodies are thus formed from one. Certain higher beings who, prior to this, were closely linked with the unitary cosmic body, now take up their abode on one of these parts. The remaining part, in contrast, is occupied by the human beings, by the two lower kingdoms just characterized, and by certain higher beings who did not go over the first cosmic body. This latter cosmic body, occupied by higher beings, appears like a reborn, but refined sun; the other is now the actually new formation, the ancient Moon, the third planetary embodiment of our Earth that follows after the Saturn and Sun evolutions. The separating, reborn sun carries away with it, from the substances arising on the Moon, only heat and air. Besides these two substances, the liquid, watery state is to be found on what remains over as Moon. The result of this separation is that the beings, departed with the reemerging sun, are unhampered in their further development by the denser Moon beings. They are thus able to advance unhindered in their evolution. As a result they acquire a still greater degree of power with which to work down upon the Moon beings from their sun. These Moon beings likewise acquire new possibilities of evolution. The Spirits of Form, in particular, have remained united with them and have solidified the nature of passion and desire. This expresses itself gradually by a further condensation of the human physical body also. The former purely watery element of this body now takes on a viscous fluidic form, and the aeriform and heat formations condense correspondingly. Similar processes take place also in the two lower kingdoms.
In consequence of the separation of the Moon from the sun body, the former has the same relationship to the latter that the Saturn body once had to the entire surrounding cosmic evolution. The Saturn body was formed from the body of the Spirits of Will -- Thrones. From this Saturn substance everything was radiated back into cosmic space that the above-mentioned spiritual beings, living in the environment, experienced, and by means of the succeeding events, the reflecting radiation gradually awoke to independent life.
In human birth the baby's survival depends upon its severance as an independent being from the surrounding life of its mother's womb. One must remove the baby from the womb and cut the umbilical cord. Once separated from its newborn baby, the mother begins to imprint herself upon the baby in her arms. It should come as no surprise that the whole of evolution involves exactly the same process during many of its stages.
[page 151, 152] The whole of evolution depends first upon the severance of independent being from surrounding life; the environment then imprints itself upon this severed being as though by reflection, and then this separated entity develops further independently. -- In this way the Moon body severed itself from the sun body and then reflected back its life. Had nothing else happened, the following cosmic process would have to be described. There would be a sun body in which spiritual beings, adapted to it, would have their experiences in the heat and air element. Opposite this sun body there would be a Moon body in which other beings would evolve with heat, air, and water life. The progress from the Sun to the Moon embodiment would consist in the fact that the sun beings would have their own life before them, like a reflection, mirrored back to them from the Moon processes, and they would be able to enjoy it -- an experience that during the Sun embodiment was still impossible for them.
During the Moon stage of evolution the independence of certain Moon beings led to a rebellion against the Sun beings, much as the independence of the South led them to secede from the Union in the events leading to the Civil War in the United States of America. In the South during this time there were people who were drawn strongly towards remaining in the Union and others who wanted their independence at all costs. A similar process occurs in every teenager when they revolt against their parents. A similar process occurred on the Moon. The sun beings could enjoy their own life reflected back from the Moon processes, "but the processes of evolution did not stop here."
[page 152] Something occurred that was of the deepest significance for all subsequent evolution. Certain beings, who were adapted to the Moon body, seized upon the will element -- the heritage of the Thrones -- that was then at their disposal, and by means of it developed their own life, which shaped itself independent of the life of the sun. Alongside the experiences of the Moon, which stand only under the sun influence, other independent Moon experiences occur -- revolts or rebellions, as it were, against the sun beings. The various kingdoms that had come into existence on the sun and Moon, especially the kingdom of our human forebears, were drawn into these conditions. Thus the Moon body contained within itself, spiritually and materially, a twofold life: one that stood in close union with the life of the sun, and one that deserted it and went its own independent way. This division into a twofold life expresses itself in all subsequent events of the Moon embodiment.
On the evening of July 20, 1969, as we awaited the moon landing, no one knew for sure what our astronauts would find the surface of the Moon to be composed of. It was a joke of the time that the "Moon was made of green cheese". No one knew where that saying started, so it was probably some ancient wisdom rooted in antiquity. We waited for the landing at our neighbor's house, and for my birthday his wife had prepared some snacks which included a green cheese ball with an American flag stuck into the top of it. This episode came to mind when I first read this next passage about the structure of the Moon -- essentially the substance of the Moon during the Old Moon stage of evolution was of the nature of green cheese! It consisted of a half-living, plant-mineral substance, such is the nature of cheese since it is manufactured from the milk of living animals. Thus the old saying that "the Moon is made of green cheese" proves to be a statement about the cosmic body of the Moon during its Moon stage of evolution.
[page 152] What this evolutionary period presents to supersensible consciousness may be characterized in the following pictures. The entire fundamental mass of the Moon is fashioned out of a half-living substance that is at times in sluggish, at times in animated movement. A mineral mass of rocks and earth elements, like that upon which the present human being treads, does not yet exist. We might speak of a kingdom of plant-minerals, only we must imagine that the entire foundational mass of the Moon is composed of this plant-mineral substance, just as the earth today consists of rocks, soil, and other matter. Just as at present we have towering masses of rocks, so at that time harder portions were embedded in the Moon's mass. These may be compared with hard, woody structures, or with horny forms. Just as plants spring up at present out of the mineral soil, so on the Moon the second kingdom-a sort of plant-animal-sprang up, covering and permeating the Moon ground. The substance of this kingdom was softer than the ground mass and more mobile in itself. This kingdom spread itself out over the other like a viscous sea.
We have on the Earth today ancestors of plants that were the most advanced stage of growth during Moon and were so well adapted to growing in the plant-like soil of Moon that they are unable to obtain nutrients from the mineral kingdom today and thus, cannot growth in the soil of the ground, but must attach themselves to plants and obtain from the host plants the nutrients they require in order to survive. A prominent example of such a plant is the mistletoe plant with its bright green color. To call such plants "parasites," as natural science does, is to miss the essential difference in their evolution. These plants who live off of other plants nearly made it to the animal stage during Moon and rightly understood they are the atavistic remnants of the Moon stage of evolution. That mistletoe is supposed to have magical properties is a result of this aspect of its nature.
As mentioned earlier, the human being on Moon is comprised of physical, etheric, and astral bodies, the same bodies that animals today on Earth have, and thus the name "animal-man" used in the passage below.
[page 153]The human being himself may be called a kind of animal-man. His nature contained the essential elements of the other two kingdoms, but his being was completely permeated by an ether and an astral body, upon which the forces of the higher beings emanating from the severed sun were active. His form was thus ennobled. Whereas the Spirits of Form gave him a shape through which he was adapted to Moon life, the sun spirits made of him a being lifted above that life. By means of the capacities bestowed upon him by these spirits he had the power to ennoble his own nature, indeed, to lift to a higher stage that part of it that was related to the lower kingdoms.
The next important aspect of Moon evolution to note is how the process we call death was originated as a way of resolving a conflict between the Sun beings and the Moon beings. To be independent, the material organism of our human ancestors on Moon had to be "frail and perishable" which meant that the material part of the human organism had to be eliminated from time to time. During the time of elimination, the imperishable part was held in thrall by the Sun while the perishable part of their Moon material body was renewed. Here was the process of reincarnation which was to come into full flower during Earth tested out, so to speak, in prototypical form. In this next passage we can read about the alternating states of clearer and duller consciousness as referring to either periods of sleep and waking or life and death. Alternating states of possessing an independent consciousness in a Moon body and a dependent consciousness in thrall to the Sun. To state the case as an ancient Greek might have stated it, "They alternated living as Gods and as men."
[page 153, 154] The processes that have to be taken into consideration here, perceived spiritually, may be described in the following manner. The human forebear had been ennobled by beings who had deserted the sun kingdom. This ennobling extended especially to everything that could be experienced in the water element. The sun beings, who were rulers of the elements of heat and air, had less influence upon this water element, with the result that two kinds of beings were active in the organism of the human ancestor. One part of this organism was wholly permeated by the activities of the sun beings; in the other part, the seceded Moon beings were active. Through this fact, the latter part was more independent than the former. In the sun-part, only states of consciousness could arise in which the sun beings lived. In the Moon-part there existed a sort of cosmic consciousness, similar to the ancient Saturn state, only now at a higher stage. The human ancestor thus beheld himself as a copy of the cosmos, while his sun-part felt itself only as a copy of the sun. -- These two kinds of beings began a sort of conflict within human nature, and through the influence of the sun beings an adjustment of this conflict was brought about by rendering the material organism, which made an independent cosmic consciousness possible, frail and perishable. It was necessary now for this part of the organism to be eliminated from time to time. During this elimination and for a certain time thereafter, the human ancestor was a being dependent only upon the influence of the sun. His consciousness became less independent; he lived in it in complete surrender to the life of the sun. The independent Moon part was then renewed. After a certain length of time, this process was repeated again and again. The human ancestor on the Moon thus lived in alternating conditions of clearer and duller consciousness, and this alternation was accompanied by a metamorphosis of the material aspect of his being. From time to time he discarded his Moon body and renewed it again later.
On Moon we see an increasing variety of beings evolving from the three we mentioned earlier: the mineral-plants, the plant-animals, and the animal-humans. These three classes of beings divide into a wide variety of beings depending on the retarded or advanced nature of each class of being in Saturn, Sun, and Moon. To this variety, the various types of minerals and the various species of plants and animals can be traced. Without a true understanding of evolution as provided by this book, one is locked into abstract categories for minerals, plants, and animals which offer many more questions than answers.
[page 154, 155] Seen physically, a great variation appears in the kingdoms of the Moon described here. The mineral-plants, the plant-animals, and the animal-men are differentiated according to groups. This will be understood if we bear in mind that, because certain organisms have remained behind at each of the earlier stages of evolution, these organisms have been embodied, endowed with the most varied qualities. There are organisms that still display the characteristics of the first epochs of the Saturn evolution, some those of the middle periods, and some those of its end. This is also true of all the stages of the Sun evolution.
It is easy to focus entirely on the evolution of the materialistic elements, plants, and animals we know on Earth today and ignore the evolution of the spiritual beings. Steiner calls them to our attention and we find the evolution of these spiritual beings shows itself in the configurations of the Solar System as it exists today. As these beings evolved, the cosmic bodies on which they resided began to divide into the various bodies we know as the planets, comets, asteroids, and Sun today.
[page 155, 156] Just as organisms connected with the progressively evolving cosmic body remain behind, so is this also the case with certain beings connected with this evolution. In the progressive development up to the appearance of the ancient Moon, several grades of such beings have already come into existence. There are, for instance, Spirits of Personality who, even on the Sun, have not yet attained their human stage; there are, however, others who, on the Sun, have retrieved their failure to rise to this stage. Many Fire Spirits, too, who should have become human on the Sun, have remained behind. Just as certain retarded Spirits of Personality withdrew during the Sun evolution from the body of the Sun and caused Saturn to arise again as a special cosmic body, so also in the course of the Moon evolution the beings described above withdrew to special cosmic bodies. Thus far we have spoken only of the separation into sun and Moon, but for the reasons given above, still other cosmic bodies detach themselves from the cosmic Moon body that made its appearance after the long pause between Sun and Moon evolutions. After a lapse of time there comes into existence a system of cosmic bodies, the most advanced of which, as may be easily seen, is the new sun. In much the same way that during the Sun evolution -- as has already been described above -- a bond of attraction was formed between the retarded Saturn kingdom and the Spirits of Personality on the new Saturn, now during the Moon evolution a bond is also formed between every such cosmic body and the corresponding Moon beings. It would carry us much too far to follow up in detail all the cosmic bodies that come into existence. It must suffice to have indicated the reason why a series of cosmic bodies is detached by degrees from the undivided cosmic organism that appeared in the beginning of mankind's evolution as Saturn.
By this point in your study of An Outline of Occult Science, dear Reader, it should no longer seem strange to conceive of the cosmos evolving as our human ancestors evolve. As Above, So Below is an ancient apophthegm that reminds us that the Macrocosm above of the Solar System in which we are embedded evolves in synchronism with the Microcosm below that is embedded in our material and spiritual human bodies.
It is time to look at the Moon Process Diagram. We notice that the first two stages of Old Moon development consisted of recapitulations of the previous two stages of Saturn and Sun. Then the Spirits of Motion bestow an astral body upon our human ancestors, followed by the actions of the Spirits of Form to further condense the body of Old Moon into its new watery or vegetative state. Next the Spirits of Personality, Fire, and Twilight work in succession upon the astral, etheric, and physical bodies of the human beings. These operations are summarized in Figure 12 and explained in detail the next passage.
[page 156,157]After the intervention of the Spirits of Form on the Moon, evolution proceeds for a time in the manner described. After this, another pause in outer activity ensues, during which the coarser parts of the three Moon kingdoms remain in a state of rest, but the finer parts -- chiefly the human astral bodies -- detach themselves from these coarser organisms. They enter a state in which the higher powers of the exalted sun beings can work upon them with special force. -- After the rest period, they again permeate the parts of the human being composed of coarser substances. Through the fact that, during the pause, they have absorbed powerful forces in a free state, they are able to prepare these coarser substances for the influences that the regularly advanced Spirits of Personality and Spirits of Fire must, after a certain time, bring to bear upon them.
These Spirits of Personality have attained a stage at which they possess the consciousness of inspiration. Not only are they able to perceive the inner state of other beings in pictures-as was the case in their former picture consciousness-but they are able to perceive the inner nature of these beings as a spiritual tone language. The Spirits of Fire, however, have risen to the degree of consciousness possessed by the Spirits of Personality on the Sun. As a result, both kinds of spirits are able to intervene in the matured life of the human being. The Spirits of Personality work upon his astral body, the Fire Spirits upon his ether body. The astral body thus receives the character of personality. It experiences henceforth not only pleasure and pain within itself, but it relates them to itself. It has not yet attained a full ego consciousness that says to itself, "I exist," but it feels itself borne and sheltered by other beings in its environment. Looking up to them, as it were, it can say, "This, my environment, gives me existence." — The Fire Spirits work henceforth upon the ether body. Under their influence the movement of forces in this body becomes more and more an inner life activity.
At this point these early human body begin to experience breathing, nutrition, and growth. Its nutrition as it does today on Earth, comes from the lower kingdom of animal-plants. If one wanted some approximate image, these early human had the nature of a jelly-fish receiving nutrition from tiny animal-plants floating in the sea-like environment they share. In addition the humans experience emotions, an early form of reproduction, and attain a higher state of consciousness, dreaming consciousness or dreaming sleep consciousness.
[page 157, 158] What thus comes into existence finds physical expression in a circulation of fluids and in phenomena of growth. The gaseous substances have condensed to a fluid. We can speak of a kind of nutrition in the sense that what is absorbed from without is transformed and worked over within. If we think perhaps of something midway between nutrition and breathing in the present day sense, then we shall have some idea of what happened at that time in this respect. The human being drew nutritive substances from the kingdom of the animal-plants. These animal-plants must be thought of as floating, swimming in -- or even lightly attached to -- a surrounding element in much the same way the present-day lower animals live in water or the land animals in the air. This element, however, is neither water nor air in the present sense of the word, but something midway between the two-a kind of thick vapor in which the most varied substances, as though dissolved, move hither and thither in the most varied currents. The animal-plants appear only as condensed, regular forms of this element, often differing physically very little from their environment. The process of respiration exists alongside the process of nutrition. It is not like what occurs on earth, but it is like an in sucking and outpouring of heat. For supersensible observation it is as though, during these processes, organs opened and closed through which a warming stream flowed in and out. Through these organs the airy and watery substances are also drawn in and expelled, and because the human being at this stage of his evolution already possesses an astral body, this breathing and nutrition are accompanied by feelings, so that a kind of pleasure occurs when substances that are beneficial for the building up of the human being are drawn in from outside. Displeasure is excited when injurious substances flow in or even when they only approach the human being. -- During the Moon evolution there was a kinship between the processes of breathing and nutrition, as described. Similarly the process of visualization was in close correspondence with the process of reproduction.
The visualization should not be confused with present day seeing -- it was more like atavistic clairvoyant seeing would be today. A clairvoyant looks at another person and see images that reflects the inner state of the person. Humans would not achieve the ability to see only colors and textures of the surfaces of things until well into the next stage, Earth.
[page 158] Objects and beings in the environment of the humanity of the Moon did not produce immediate effects on any kind of senses. Visualization was of such a character that images were evoked in the dull dim consciousness by the presence of the things and beings in its neighborhood. These pictures had a much more intimate relationship with the actual nature of the environment than present-day sense perceptions which, through color, tone, and odor, only indicate the external aspects of things and beings. In order to have a clearer concept of this consciousness of the Moon humanity, let us imagine this humanity as being embedded in the above described vaporous environment. The most manifold processes occur within this mistlike element. Substances now unite, now separate. Certain parts condense, others become rarefied. All of this occurs in such a way that the human beings neither see nor hear it directly, but images are called forth by it in their consciousness. These may be compared to the images of present-day dream consciousness.
What is the nature of our dream consciousness and how does it differ from that of the Moon human beings? Plus how is the type of consciousness related to whether a being can operate independently - in freedom -- or not? These are all crucial to understanding what freedom means to us today -- how we came as humans to acquire freedom. In addition we learn that to the early humans, the Archai and Archangels were visible as if they were members of the two lower kingdoms during Moon. The Angels appeared as etheric soul forms. Thus humans during Moon lived with the members of the Third Hierarchy as their daily companions.
[page 159-160] For example, when an outer object falls to the ground and a sleeping man does not perceive the actual event itself, but instead experiences the rise of some kind of picture, he might, let us say, believe a shot was fired. The only difference is that the pictures of the Moon consciousness are not arbitrary as are the dream pictures of the present day. Although they are symbols, not copies, they correspond, nevertheless, to the outer events. A definite picture appears with a definite outer event. The Moon humanity is thus in the position to direct its actions in accordance with these pictures, just as present-day humanity directs its actions according to perceptions. Notice, however, must be taken of the fact that conduct based on perception admits of freedom of choice, while action under the influence of the pictures indicated is impelled by a dull urge. -- This picture consciousness is by no means one by which only outer physical processes are visualized, but through them the spiritual beings ruling behind the physical facts as well as their activities are imaginatively perceived. Thus the Spirits of Personality become, as it were, visible in the objects of the animal-plant kingdom; behind and within the mineral-plant beings the Fire Spirits appear. The Sons of Life appear as beings that the human being is able to picture mentally without connection with anything physical; he perceives them, as it were, as etheric soul forms. -- Although these mental pictures of the Moon consciousness were not copies, but only symbols of the outer world, they did have a much more important effect upon the inner nature of the human' being than the present visualizations of man transmitted through outer perception. They had the power to set the whole inner being in motion and activity. The inner processes shaped themselves in accordance with them. They were genuine formative forces. The human being took on the shape these formative forces gave him; he became, as it were, a copy of his processes of consciousness.
In this next passage we find the human being elongating with a primitive head and spinal cord beginning to form.
[page 160, 161] The further that evolution continues in this manner, the deeper and more incisive is the change that in consequence takes place in the human entity. The power that proceeds from these consciousness-images is gradually no longer able to extend over the entire human corporeality. The latter divides into two parts, two natures. Members are fashioned that are subject to the formative effect of the picture consciousness, and to a great degree they become a copy of the life of mental images in the sense of the above description. Other organs, however, withdraw from this influence. The human being, in one part of his nature is, as it were, too dense, too much determined by other laws to be able to conduct himself according to the consciousness pictures. These withdraw from human influence, but they become subject to the influence of the exalted sun beings themselves. A rest period precedes this stage of evolution, during which the sun spirits gather the power to work upon the Moon beings under wholly new conditions. -- After this pause the human being is distinctly split into two natures. One of these natures, not subject to the independent activity of the picture consciousness, takes on a more definite form and comes under the influence of forces that, to be sure, proceed from the Moon body, but within which they arise only through the influence of the sun beings. This part of the human being participates increasingly in the life that is inspired by the sun. The other part rises out of the former like a kind of head. It is in itself mobile, plastic, and becomes the expression and bearer of the dull life of consciousness of the human being. Yet the two parts are closely bound together. They send their fluids into one another, and their members stretch from one into the other.
In a concomitant development in the cosmos, the Sun and Moon separate and begin to orbit around one another. The motion is not some random result of gravitational forces as natural scientists would have us believe, but was rather a purposeful act of the spiritual beings inhabiting the respective cosmic bodies.
[page 161, 162] A significant harmony is now achieved through the fact that, during the time in which all this happened, a relationship between sun and Moon has been developed that is in accord with the direction of this evolution. -- It has already been pointed out in a previous paragraph (see page 150) how, as a result of their stage of evolution, the advancing beings sever their cosmic bodies from the general cosmic mass. They radiate the forces in accordance with which the substances form themselves. Sun and Moon have thus separated from one another in accordance with the necessity of establishing proper dwelling places for the corresponding beings. This conditioning of substance and its forces by means of the spirit, however, extends further. The beings themselves determine certain movements of cosmic bodies and their definite revolution around each other. In this way these bodies come into varying positions in relation to each other. If the location or position of one cosmic body in relation to another is changed, then the effects of their corresponding beings upon one another are also changed. This happened with the sun and the Moon. Through the movement begun by the Moon around the sun, the human beings come now under the influence of the sun activity, now they turn away from this influence and are then more dependent upon themselves. The movement is a result of the secession of certain Moon beings already described and the adjustment of the conflict brought about by it. It is only the physical expression of the spiritual relationship of forces created by this secession. The revolution of one body around the other resulted in the previously described changing states of consciousness in the beings dwelling on the cosmic bodies. It can be said that the Moon alternately turns its life toward and away from the sun. There is a sun period and a Moon period; during the latter, the Moon beings develop on the side of the Moon that is turned away from the sun. For the Moon, however, something else was added to the movement of the heavenly bodies. The retrospective supersensible consciousness is able to see how the Moon beings themselves revolve around their own cosmic body in quite regular periods. At certain times they seek out the places where they can expose themselves to the influence of the sun. At other epochs they migrate to the regions where they are not exposed to this influence and where they can, as it were, reflect upon themselves.
In the next passage we learn how the germinal senses of the human being are used by the Spirits of Twilight (Sons of Life, Angels) who in the process of using them, perfect them for us.
[page 162, 163] In order to complete the picture of these processes, we have also to consider that at this time the Sons of Life reach their human stage. The human being on the Moon cannot yet use his senses, the primal indications of which had come into existence already on Saturn, for his own perception of external objects. At the Moon stage of evolution, however, these senses become the instruments of the Sons of Life. The latter make use of these senses in order to perceive by means of them. These senses, which belong to the physical human body, enter in this way into reciprocal relationship with the Sons of Life, who not only make use of them, but perfect them as well.
Next we see how the consciousness of early humans fluctuated between day and night, between being influenced by the beings of the Sun during the day or living internally during the night. We also
[page 163, 164] Through the changing relationships to the sun a change occurs, as described, in the conditions of life within the human being himself. Things shape themselves in such a way that each time the human being comes under the influence of the sun, he devotes himself more to the life of the sun and its phenomena than to himself. At such times he experiences the grandeur and majesty of the universe as this is expressed in the sun existence. He absorbs this. The exalted beings who have their habitation upon the sun exercise their power upon the Moon, which in turn has its effect upon the being of man. This effect does not extend to the entire human being; it affects particularly those parts of him that have withdrawn from the influence of his own picture consciousness. Thus the physical and ether bodies especially attain a certain size and form, but in order that this may occur, the phenomena of consciousness withdraw. When, now, the life of the human being is removed from the influence of the sun, he is occupied with his own nature. An inner vivacity begins chiefly in the astral body, but the external shape becomes less conspicuous, less perfect in form.-Thus during the Moon evolution there are these two clearly distinguishable, alternating states of consciousness-a duller state during the sun period and a clearer state during the period in which life is more dependent upon itself. The first state is, indeed, duller, but it is for that reason also more selfless. Man surrenders himself more to the outer world, to the universe mirrored in the sun. There is an alternation in the states of consciousness that may be compared with the alternation of sleeping and waking in the present human being, as well as with his life between birth and death on the one hand, and with the more spiritual existence between death and a new birth, on the other. The awaking on the Moon, when the sun period gradually ceases, should be characterized as a state intermediate between our present waking every morning and our being born. Likewise, the gradual dimming of consciousness at the approach of the sun period may be likened to an intermediate state between going to sleep and dying, for a consciousness of birth and death similar to the one belonging to present-day man did not yet exist on the ancient Moon. In a kind of sun-life the human being surrendered himself to the enjoyment of this life. He was, during this time, withdrawn from his own life. He lived more spiritually.
What was life like for the human being of this stage? Steiner tells us:
[page 164] Only an approximate and comparative description of what the human entity experienced in these periods can be attempted. He felt as though the causative forces of the cosmos streamed into him, pulsated through him. He felt as though intoxicated with the harmonies of the universe of which he partook. At such times his astral body was as though freed from the physical body, and a part of the life body was likewise withdrawn from it. This organism composed of astral body and life body was like a marvelous, delicate musical instrument upon whose strings the mysteries of the universe resounded, and the members of that part of the human being upon which consciousness had but little influence took on forms in response to the universal harmonies, for in these harmonies the sun beings were active. Thus, through spiritual cosmic tones this human part was given form.
On Earth each human possesses an individual Ego, but animals do not. Each animal species has its own group soul or Ego. On Moon, each human being belonged to a certain group of humans which had a single Spirit of Twilight (Angel or Son of Life) assigned to it. To imagine how the Sons of Life felt one need only imagine how one feels towards one's own children -- how as a parent one sees oneself reflected in one's children and experience one's own egohood in that reflection. During the next stage, Earth, the individual human will have its own Spirit of Twilight known colloquially as Guardian Angel assigned to it.
[page 167] The relationship to the Sons of Life was of such a character that not each individual human being had a Son ( Life for himself, but a whole group of human beings felt that one of these beings belonged to it. Thus on the Moon the inhabitants lived divided into such groups, and ever group looked up to a Son of Life as the common group ego. The difference between the groups became apparent through each group having a different form, especially in its ether bodies. But since the physical bodies are formed in accordance with the ether bodies, the differences in the latter were imprinted upon the former, and the various human groups appeared as so many different types of men. When the Sons of Life looked down upon the human groups belonging to them, they saw themselves, as it were manifolded in the individual human beings. In this way they experienced their own egohood. They mirrored themselves in the human beings.
As we near the completion of the Moon stage, we find the human beings have received independence of action, a personality, primitive perception, a dreaming consciousness, and a nervous system among other things. One further capability is required. To explain this, consider what a mother does when she sends a youngster off to summer camp: she labels all of his clothes. By imprinting his name on his clothes, he can keep track of what belongs to him when he returns from camp. During the night-time of Moon, when the Sun is not shining on the human being, some imprinting of identity is necessary on the human being so that when the Sun shines again, the human being will feel like the same being again. This imprinting capability was built into the etheric body to allow humans to preserve their identity during periods of sleep or when the Sun was not shining on them. This imprinting of memories in the etheric body continues to this day and is what creates the panorama that appears upon near-death experiences and upon removal of the etheric body during the early stages following death.
[page 168] From this description it can be seen how the three categories of spirits, the Spirits of Personality, the Fire Spirits, and the Sons of Life, are active upon the Moon man. If the main period of the Moon evolution -- the middle evolutionary period -- is considered, we may say that it was then that the Spirits of Personality implanted independence, the character of personality, in the human astral body. It is due to this fact that during the time when the sun does not shine on the human being, as it were, he can turn in upon himself, is able to fashion himself. The Fire Spirits manifest themselves in the ether body to the degree that this body imprints upon itself the independent human structure. It is because of them that the human being feels himself to be again the same being each time after the renewal of his body. A kind of memory is thus given to the ether body through the Fire Spirits. The Sons of Life work upon the physical body in such a way that it is able to become the expression of the now independent astral body. They (thus make it possible for this physical body to become a physiognomic copy of its astral body. On the other hand, higher spiritual beings, especially the Spirits of Form and the Spirits of Movement, intervene in the formation of physical and ether bodies insofar as these develop in the sun periods independent of the autonomous astral body. It is from the sun that their intervention occurs in the manner described above.
As we near the completion of Moon, the two bodies of Sun and Moon prepare to be re-united, the three human bodies are dissolved or etherized to make the reunion possible. Together the cosmic bodies and the human beings enter the period of rest or pralaya and prepare to be filled with wisdom prior to entering the Earth stage.
[page 171, 172] It is of special significance that during this epoch the Spirits of Wisdom intervene in the manner described. They do this not alone in respect of the human being but also of the other kingdoms that have developed upon the Moon. When the sun and Moon again become united, these lower kingdoms are drawn within the sphere of the sun. All that was physical in them becomes etherized. Thus, just as human beings are to be found on the sun, so there are also to be found mineral-plants and plant-animals. These other creatures, however, remain endowed with their own laws. They feel, therefore, like strangers in their new surroundings. They appear with a nature that has little in common with that of their environment. But since they have an etheric form, the activity of the Spirits of Wisdom can extend to them also. All that has come from the Moon into the sun is now permeated with the forces of the Spirits of Wisdom. Therefore what is fashioned from the sun-Moon organism within this evolutionary period may be call the "Cosmos of Wisdom." -- When our Earth system, as a descendant of this Cosmos of Wisdom, appears after a rest period, all the beings coming to life again upon the Earth, springing forth from their Moon nuclei, show themselves filled with wisdom. Thus we see the reason why the present earth man, looking attentively at the things about him, can discover wisdom in the nature of their being.
When we look at any part of the cosmos or Earth, we can extract from wisdom from it because every part of the cosmos is filled with wisdom placed there by the Spirits of Wisdom. To expect to be able to extract wisdom where none was placed, would be like trying to pour water from a glass into which no water had been placed.
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