In the Crystal Heaven, as it was later described by Dante in his Divine Comedy and equated with the Primum Mobile, the deeds of spiritual beings are stored according to the occult view, which do not belong to our planetary chain but to an earlier evolutionary series. As the ninth celestial sphere or heavenly sphere, the crystal heaven encloses the fixed star sphere of the zodiac, which in turn surrounds the seven planetary spheres, were also seen as subordinate crystal spheres and "carriers" of the stars and planets.
„That which arrived at the beginning of our evolution on earth before the evolution of Saturn, we would have to place outside the zodiac. The primeval wisdom called it the crystal heaven, and in this crystal heaven were deposited the deeds of the beings of an earlier evolution. They formed, so to speak, that on the basis of which the new entities began to create.“ (Lit.:GA 110, p. 158)
In Christian tradition, the concept of the crystal heaven or crystal sphere was derived from Genesis, where, on the second day of creation, the firmament (Latin: firmamentum; Hebrew: רקיע Rakía, also called גַּלְגַּל Galgal "wheel" by the Kabbalists) is spoken of, by which the heavenly and earthly "waters" are separated from each other. The Greeks called him Uranos (Greek: Οὐρανός Ouranos; Latin: Uranus, Coelus or Caelum) and the Indians Varuna (Sanskrit: m., वरुण Varuṇa "the enveloper") (Lit.:GA 93, p. 48).
The Crystal Heaven in Dante's Divine Comedy
In the worldview of Dante's Divine Comedy, the crystal heaven forms the 9th heavenly sphere after the seven planetary spheres and the circle of stars, and is thus the exact opposite image of the ice hell, the 9th and deepest circle of hell. Just as there all life freezes in the ahrimanic icy cold, so here in the crystal heaven is the wholesome source of all living movement and at the same time the source of time. Crystal heaven is not to be found anywhere in space, but rests solely in God's spirit. Here is the boundary where the created world passes into the infinity of the Ain Soph (Hebrew: אין סוף "not finite"), the eternal, uncreated and unlimited source of creation. From here, the Unmoved Mover sets the world, the total of creation, in motion.
See here the circle's nature begun,
Above this is the 10th sphere, the Empyrean, the actual seat of God and the blessed.
The Crystal Heaven in Relation to Individual Human Development
During the first seventh year of life, the forces of the sun work on the human being and form his independent etheric body. In the second seventh year, the forces of the moon are added to form the astral body. Then, until about the age of 21, the much more subtle forces of the other planets of the planetary system are at work, which are much more difficult to notice. Up to the age of twenty-eight, the constellations of the fixed stars still have an effect that is hardly observable. But then development comes up against a fixed limit, namely the crystal heaven. From now on, man can no longer draw any forces from the cosmos for his development, but must from now on process on his own what he has absorbed up to now. But it is precisely through this that the human being can now really develop his independent I:
„Now you see, the human being is active within himself in the first seven years of life with the forces of the sun, in the second seven years of life with the forces of the moon. The solar force remains, but the lunar forces are mixed with it. In the third seven years of life, from sexual maturity until the twenties, the much finer forces of the other planets of the planetary system are absorbed into the human being. Then the other planetary forces appear in the human being in the process of growth, and because these have a weaker, much weaker effect than the sun and moon on the human being, the things that the human being then absorbs are much less outwardly visible. We no longer notice as strongly as we did in the early twenties - while the planetary forces are still at work in the human body between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one - how in the early twenties these forces begin to work in the soul-spiritual sphere. It is the planetary forces which begin to work in the soul-spirit, and he who has insight then looks at man in such a way that he notices in this strange transformation which man experiences in the beginning of the twenties: up to now only the sun and moon have spoken out of human activity, now this solar and lunar activity modifies the planetary forces. The crude procedure of men, the crude observation, has even quite little sense for envisaging this transformation, but it is there.
Now you see, it is true that for those who observe man in relation to health and disease, knowledge of these connections is necessary. For what do we really know of man, let us say in his eleventh or twelfth year, if we do not know then that the lunar forces are at work in him?
But now the question will arise within: How does it go on? Later on, even if the parts to be renewed become smaller and smaller, man must also renew things later on. Now you see, up to the twenty-first, twenty-second year, the sun, the moon, the planetary system successively work into human growth. Then, up to the twenty-eighth year of life, the constellations of the fixed stars still have an effect; so this is already very much beyond observation. It is only with the wisdom of the mysteries that one sees the whole fixed star system playing into the human being between the beginning of his twenties and the end of his twenties. Then the world becomes hard. It no longer wants to work its way into the human being; the world becomes hard. Of this peculiar relationship of man to the world in his twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth year of life, that the world becomes hard, modern science hardly knows anything any more. Aristotle still taught it to Alexander by telling him: "Then, as a human being, you come up against the crystal heaven; it is hard. - This is how the crystal heaven, which is outside the sphere of the fixed stars, acquires its meaning, its reality, for human perception. With this, one begins to realise that man no longer finds any powers in the universe when he is at the end of his twenties in order to renew. Why then do we not die at the age of twenty-eight? This world that surrounds us actually lets us die at twenty-eight. It is true that whoever sees the connection between man and the world now looks out into the world with the consciousness: O world, you will actually only sustain me until the end of my twenties! - But it is only by realising this that one begins to understand man in his essence.“ (Lit.:GA 318, p. 59f)
Crystals, Crystal Heaven and the Human I
The crystalline earth element, the highest manifestation of the mineral kingdom, which only came into being when the moon emerged from the earth, is quite different in nature from the solidifying viscous lunar substance that had existed until then. The crystalline earth substance is indeed harder and denser than the old lunar matter, but it is completely open and transparent to the highest spiritual forces that come from cosmic realms that reach far beyond the boundaries of our planetary system into the fixed stars, even coming from realms that lie beyond space and time. In the medieval mysteries, people rightly spoke of the crystal heaven, which forms the boundary to the supra-spatial and supra-temporal world.
The crystal-forming forces, which originate from a world realm that lies beyond that which has already been created, as it were outside of creation, are closely related to the creative I-forces, which from now on people were able to make more and more their own. The I is, as it were, a crystalline geometrically formed being.
„When the astral body [is taken] out [of the physical body], it assumes complicated plant forms, and the I of man is a purely mineral, crystalline formed being, it is entirely geometrically formed. So that one can say: In form man is man in the physical body, in the etheric body he is actually animal, in the astral he is plant-like, and in the I he is mineral-shaped.“ (Lit.:GA 342, p. 123)
Crystal Heaven and Planetary Evolution
„In the course of its evolution a planet becomes smaller and smaller, it contracts. That is the fate of the matter of the planet; but that is not all, that is only something that the physical eye and physical instruments can observe on the planet, so to speak. Matter is crowding more and more towards the centre, and the peculiar thing is that matter at the centre disappears into nothing. To the same extent that it disappears into the centre, to the same extent it appears in the surrounding circle. And in such a way that everything that the beings who have worked on the planet have imprinted on matter has now been worked into it. That which arrived (in this way) at the beginning of our evolution on earth (even) before the evolution of Saturn, we would have to place outside the zodiac. The primeval wisdom called it the crystal heaven, and in this crystal heaven were deposited the deeds of the beings of an earlier evolution. They formed, so to speak, the basis on which the new beings began to create.
As long as you remain in three-dimensional space with your imagination, you cannot grasp this, because it goes out of three-dimensional space. Therefore, it cannot be seen until it comes back into three-dimensional space from the other side. In the meantime it is just in another dimension.“ (Lit.:GA 110, p. 157f)
Axel Burkart relates this fact to the so-called wormholes and black holes.
The Philosopher's Stone
The most perfect earthly representative of these cosmic crystal-forming forces is carbon. Carbon rightly occupies a central position in the periodic table of chemical elements. In a certain sense, all other chemical elements are to be understood as modifications, as variations of carbon. Already in its external mineral appearances, carbon shows that its formability ranges from the lowest lunar matter to a completely spirit-open substance. The dirty, greasy graphite stands at the lowest end of this series of substances and the light-open diamond at the highest. But there are also coloured diamonds. The colours, however, are not caused by metallic impurities, as is the case with most minerals, but often result from inclusions of nitrogen, the material representative of the astral forces, but also from crystal construction defects. Brown shades are the most common, but there are coloured diamonds in all colours of the rainbow. There are even black diamonds whose blackness is caused by graphite inclusions.
The crystal structure of the flawless diamond shows a mineral image of the highest I-forces, while the dark, metallic graphite is a fitting image of the lowest desirous soul forces. The seemingly almost indestructible solid spatial form of the diamond is an earthly image of eternity, of the world of timelessness and duration; the mobile, slippery graphite, which is even a perfect lubricant due to this property, on the other hand, depicts the world of temporality, of earthly transience.
„Actually, it is the carbon that weaves, moves, shapes itself and dissolves its form again, on the paths of which, moistened with sulphur, the human spirit in the blood moves, which we call I, and just as the human I lives as the actual spirit of man in the carbon, so in turn the world I lives, as it were, in the world spirit on the diversions through the sulphur in the carbon that shapes itself and dissolves again and again. It is so that in earlier epochs of our earth's evolution carbon was that which was separated in the first place. It was only later that the limestone was added, which man then used as a base to create something more solid. In order that that which lives in carbon may be moved, man creates an underlying solid in his calcareous skeleton, as does the higher animal. Thus man, in his mobile carbon formation, lifts himself out of the merely mineral, solid lime formation which the earth has, and which he also incorporates into himself in order to have solid earth in himself.“ (Lit.:GA 327, p. 67)
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Tempellegende und die Goldene Legende , GA 93 (1991) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Geistige Hierarchien und ihre Widerspiegelung in der physischen Welt, GA 110 (1981), Zehnter Vortrag, Düsseldorf, 18. April 1909, abends English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Geisteswissenschaftliche Grundlagen zum Gedeihen der Landwirtschaft, GA 327 (1999), ISBN 3-7274-3270-5 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Vorträge und Kurse über christlich-religiöses Wirken, I, GA 342 (1993), ISBN 3-7274-3420-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Das Zusammenwirken von Ärzten und Seelsorgern. Pastoral-Medizinischer Kurs., GA 318 (1994), Vierter Vortrag, Dornach, 11. September 1924 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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