Man had the image consciousness, of which the astral body is the carrier, on the Old Moon. It was similar to today's dream consciousness. In contrast to this, however, the images that man experienced at that time represented realities, whereas today's dream consciousness is largely exhausted in jumbled reminiscences of waking daily life and pictorial impressions of organ activity, which the etheric body imagines in the astral body. Today, those lower animals still have the lunar image-consciousness that cannot express their suffering and lust through sound from within.
Image consciousness was based on the fact that the sense organs, before they had opened outwards through the Luciferic temptation, produced symbolic images from within which represented reality. Accordingly, an inside and an outside were not yet distinguished at that time. Since one could not distinguish oneself from the world, consequently no self-consciousness was yet possible for man on the Old Moon.
The object consciousness did not exist at that time. Rather, image consciousness expressed itself in freely flowing colours and forms that proclaimed something of the inner quality of beings and things. In contrast, our dream consciousness today is much more objective.
If it is possible for us today, through memory, to call images of what we once experienced before our consciousness, then this is the earthly metamorphosis of the old moon consciousness.
Image consciousness on the Old Moon
„This is the most characteristic difference between the old evolution of the Moon and our present evolution on Earth, that the consciousness has risen from a kind of old clairvoyance, a kind of image consciousness, to the present object consciousness. Basically, I have been emphasising this for many years now, and many years ago you were able to learn about it from the first essays in "Lucifer-Gnosis" about the development out of the Akasha Chronicle. There it was already emphasised how the old dreamlike image consciousness, which was peculiar to our own being in prehistoric times, has developed upwards into earth consciousness, into that which today gives us consciousness of outer things, that is, of what we call outer things in space in contrast to what we ourselves are inwardly. This differentiation of outer objects from our own inner life is also the characteristic of our present state of consciousness. When we have any object before us, for example this rose, we say: This rose is there in space. It is separate from us. We are standing in a different place from it. We perceive the rose and form an idea of it. The idea is inside us, the rose is outside. - To distinguish this outside and inside is the characteristic of our earth consciousness. The old lunar consciousness was not like that. This distinction between outside and inside was not made by those beings who had the old lunar consciousness. Just think, when you look at this rose, you would not have the consciousness that the rose is outside and you imagine it inside, but you would have the consciousness: When this rose is floating there in space, its own essence not only belongs to the space that is closed within it, but this essence extends out into space, and the rose is actually within you.
- Yes, the matter could go even further. Think of yourself turning your gaze towards the Sun and not having the consciousness that the Sun is above and you below, but the consciousness that, while you are creating the idea of the Sun, the Sun is within you, your consciousness grasps the Sun in a more or less spiritual way. This difference between inside and outside would then not exist. If you realise this, then you have the first fixed quality of this consciousness as it was on the Old Moon.
Another characteristic is that it was an imaginative consciousness, so that things did not appear directly as objects, but as if in allegories, just as the dream today sometimes works in allegories. The dream, for example, can work in such a way that some fire which is outside us is perceived for my sake under the symbol of a being radiating light, as in a picture. Similarly, the old lunar consciousness perceived things, let us say, inwardly, but also pictorially. So this old lunar consciousness was a pictorial consciousness permeated with the quality of inwardness. And it had another essential difference from our present-day consciousness. It did not have the effect that external objects existed as they do for today's earth consciousness. What you now call your surroundings, what you now perceive in the vegetable, mineral and human kingdoms as objects of sense, was not at all present to the consciousness during the old evolution of the Moon. There was really something similar on a subordinate dream-like level at that time as there is today in the soul when the visionary power, when conscious clairvoyance awakens. The first awakening of this clairvoyant consciousness is such that at first it does not even go to external beings. This is even a source of many deceptions for those who, through their, let us say, esoteric development, develop the gift of clairvoyant powers within themselves.
This development of clairvoyant powers proceeds in stages. There is a first stage of clairvoyance. Many things develop in man, he sees many things in his surroundings. But he would be mistaken if he were immediately convinced that what he perceives in his surroundings, let us say in spirit-space, is also spiritual reality. Johannes Thomasius in our Rosicrucian Mystery goes through this stage of astral clairvoyance. I only remind you of those images that appear before the soul of Johannes Thomasius when he sits meditating in the foreground of the stage and feels the spiritual world rising up in his soul. Images appear, and the first is that the spirit of the elements brings images of beings to his soul that he already knows from life. The play takes place in such a way that Johannes Thomasius got to know Professor Capesius and Doctor Strader in life. He knows them from the physical plane, he has absorbed certain ideas about these two personalities on the physical plane. When, after the great pain, his clairvoyant faculty breaks through, so to speak, Johannes Thomasius sees Professor Capesius and Doctor Strader again. He sees them in strange guises. He sees Capesius rejuvenated, as he was in the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth year of his life and not as he is at the time when Johannes Thomasius is sitting in meditation. Likewise, he does not see Doctor Strader as he is at this point in time, but he sees him as he must become when he becomes an old man in this incarnation. This and many other images pass by the soul of Johannes Thomasius. It can only be dramatised in such a way that the images which actually come alive in the soul through meditation are played out on the stage. The mistake cannot be that Johannes Thomasius thinks this is a deception. He would be quite wrong. The only correct mood towards all this is that he says to himself that he cannot yet know to what extent this is a deception or reality. He does not know whether what presents itself in the pictures is an outer spiritual reality, for my sake, whether it is what is inscribed in the Akashic Chronicle, or whether he has expanded his own self into a world. It can be both, and he must accept that it is both. What he lacks is the gift of differentiating between spiritual reality and image consciousness. He must tell himself that. And only from the moment when devachanic consciousness sets in, when Johannes Thomasius experiences spiritual reality by perceiving in the devachan the spiritual reality of a being he knows on the physical plane, Mary, only then can he again look back and distinguish reality from mere image-consciousness. So you can see that in the course of his esoteric development man has to pass through a stage where he is surrounded by images, but where he has no ability to distinguish between what reveals itself as spiritual reality and the images themselves. In the images in the Rosicrucian drama, of course, real spiritual realities were allowed to reveal themselves. For example, what is revealed as Professor Capesius is the real image inscribed in the Akashic Chronicle of Capesius' youth, and what is revealed as Doctor Strader is the real image inscribed in it of Strader's age. They are meant to be real in the drama, only Johannes Thomasius does not know that these figures are real.
This stage, which is being passed through, was passed through on a lower, dreamlike level, so that this differentiation could not possibly occur at all, during the old lunar consciousness. So it is only later that the faculty of discrimination begins, and one must certainly familiarise oneself with what has just been said. Let us note that the clairvoyant lives in a kind of image consciousness. During the old lunar period, however, the images that appeared were in the main quite different from the objects of our earthly consciousness, and they are the same today in the beginning clairvoyance. In the real beginning clairvoyance, the clairvoyant does not first see external spiritual entities, he sees images. And we must now ask ourselves: What is the meaning of these images that appear? - Yes, you see, at the first stage of clairvoyance they are not at all expressions for external real spiritual entities, but at first what appears is, if I may say so, a kind of organ consciousness. It is a pictorial representation, a projecting out into the space of what is actually going on within ourselves. And when the clairvoyant begins to develop the forces within himself, then he can feel, to mention a real example now, as if he were to perceive two brightly shining spheres far out in space. So these are two pictures of spheres shining brightly in certain colours. If the clairvoyant now said: There are two beings out there somewhere, he would probably think something very wrong. In any case, that will not be the correct fact at first; it will be quite different. It will be such that clairvoyance projects forces that work within itself out into space and perceives them as two spheres. And these two spheres, for example, can represent what works in the clairvoyant's astral body and inwardly brings about the power of seeing in his two eyes This power of seeing can project itself out into space in the form of two spheres. So it is actually inner forces that live as external phenomena of astral space, and the greatest possible deception could occur if one were to take this for the announcement of external spiritual entities.
It is even more wrong if one is made to hear voices from the beginning by some means, let us say, and immediately interprets these voices as inspirations from outside. That is the very wrong thing to fall into. It will hardly be anything other than an echo of an inner process. And while, as a rule, what appears as pictures of colours, pictures of forms, represent rather pure processes in one's own inner being, voices, as a rule, represent rather wild stuff that is going on in the soul. And it is best that anyone who begins to perceive voices should at first develop the greatest distrust of the content of these voices - you see, the beginning of this pictorial imagining must under all circumstances be received with great caution. It is a kind of organ-consciousness, a projecting out of one's own inner self into space. But quite normally this consciousness was such an organ-consciousness during the old lunar evolution. The people themselves on the old lunar stage hardly perceived anything other than what was happening in them at that time.
I have often reminded you of an important word that Goethe uttered: The eye is formed in the light for the light. - This word should be taken quite deeply. All the organs that man has are formed in the environment, out of the environment. And it is a superficial philosophy that emphasises only one side of the truth, which says: Without the eye, man could not perceive light. For the other important side of this truth is this: Without light an eye could never have developed, and likewise without sound no ear, and so on. - From a deeper point of view, all Kantianism is a superficiality, because it gives only one side of the truth. The light that weaves and floods the world-space, that is the cause of the organs of the eyes. During the old lunar time, the main work of the beings who participated in the becoming of our worlds was the building up of the organs. First the organs must be built up, then they can perceive. Our present physical consciousness is based on the fact that the organs were built first. As purely physical organs, the sense organs were already formed during the old Saturnian period, the eye, for instance, like a camera obscura, which the photographer has. Such purely physical apparatuses cannot perceive anything. They are assembled according to physical laws. In the old lunar time these organs were internalised. If, then, we consider the eye, we must say that on Old Saturn it was formed in such a way that it was at most a physical apparatus. On the lunar stage it was transformed by the sunlight coming in from outside into an organ of perception, an organ of consciousness. - The essence of that activity during the old lunar state is that the organs are, so to speak, drawn out of the beings. During the time on Earth, the essential thing is that the light, for example, has an effect on the plants, that it maintains the development of the plants.
We see the product of this light working in the outer flora. The light did not work in this way during the old lunar state. There it drew out the organs, and what man perceived then was this work on his own organs. So it was a perception of images that seemed to fill the space of the world. It seemed as if these images were extended in space. In truth, they were nothing other than expressions of the work of elementary existence on the organs of the human being. How he formed himself, how the perceiving eyes developed, as it were, out of his own being, this work on himself, his own inner becoming, that is what man perceived during the old lunar time. Thus the outer world was an inner world to him, because the whole outer world worked on his inner being, and he did not distinguish himself at all in regard to an outer and inner being. He did not perceive the Sun as an outside at all. He did not separate the Sun from himself, but he felt within himself the becoming of his eyes. And this working on the becoming of his eyes expanded into a pictorial perception that filled the room. For him, this was the perception of the Sun, but it was an inner process.
That was the characteristic of the old lunar consciousness, that one perceived a world of images around oneself; but these images meant an inner becoming, an inner building up of the soul's being. Thus the lunar man was resolved in the astral, felt his own becoming like an outer world. Today the perception of this inner becoming as an outer world, so that one could not distinguish the images of the outer world, which one perceives only as a reflection of one's own becoming, would be illness. During the old lunar consciousness it was the normal thing. The work, for example, of those beings who later became the Elohim, he perceived in his own being. Just as if you were to perceive your blood flowing within you today for my sake, so man perceived the activity of these Elohim. That was within him; it was only reflected in images from outside.
But such a consciousness was the only thing possible on the Old Moon. For what happens on our Earth must happen in harmony with the entire cosmos. Such a consciousness as man has on Earth, with this distinction between outside and inside, with this perception that external real objects are standing out there and that we are an inwardness beside them, this required that the whole development from the Old Moon passed over to Earth, that a quite different form of separation occurred in our cosmic system. The separation of Moon and Earth, for example, as we have it today, did not exist at all during the Old Moon. You have to imagine what we call the Old Moon as if today's Moon were still connected to the Earth. As a result, all the other planets, including the Sun, had a completely different configuration.
And under the conditions as they were then, only such an image consciousness could develop. Only after the whole cosmos, which belongs to us, had taken on the form that it has as an environment of the Earth, could the object consciousness develop as we have it today.“ (Lit.:GA 122, p. 128ff)
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Geheimnisse der biblischen Schöpfungsgeschichte, GA 122 (1984) English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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