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Rudolf Steiner: Adam Kadmon in Early Lemuria, pastel (1923)
Rudolf Steiner: Lemuria, pastel on paper (1914)

The Lemurian period, also called the third root race[1] according to obsolete theosophical tradition, is the third of the seven main ages into which the present physical state of form of the Earth is divided[2]. It followed the Hyperborean period in which the Earth and the Sun separated from each other. According to a statement by Rudolf Steiner, which is, however, only poorly documented, the Lemurian period corresponds approximately on the geologic time scale to the Mesozoic era (Lit.:GA 300a, p. 107), which according to the results of external research began about 252.2 million years ago and ended about 66 million years ago. In fact, the earliest Lemurian may already have begun with the start of the Proterozoic, about 2,500 million years ago[3]. All references to time here are only for comparison with the present state of external research and are to be taken with great caution, as Rudolf Steiner also clearly points out.[4] After the Lemurian period, the Atlantic era began.


The name Lemuria was coined in 1858 by the geologist Philip Sclater, based on the former land bridge between South Africa and India postulated earlier by Ernst Haeckel, Melchior Neumayr and other geologists to explain the strange distribution of lemurs living only in Madagascar and the Near East. H. P. Blavatsky adopted this designation in her theosophical writings. With the theory of continental drift developed by Alfred Wegener (1880-1930) and the modern theory of plate tectonics based on it, the original thesis of a primeval land bridge between Africa and Asia was rejected.

Rudolf Steiner, however, confirmed from his spiritual research the existence of ancient Lemuria, which in his view actually extended in the area between Africa, Asia and Australia - but not in the sense of the outdated land bridge theory. It was that continental area where man developed during the Lemurian period. Lemuria perished due to earthquake and volcanic catastrophes.


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. The term root race derives from the terminology used at that time by the Theosophical Society and was later no longer used by Rudolf Steiner, as was the term subrace. Steiner repeatedly pointed out that the term "race" is actually no longer justified in the post-Atlantean time, since now it is no longer the physical but the soul-spiritual development that comes to the fore. The division of humanity into races will gradually be completely overcome and is already meaningless for the spiritual development of man.
  2. The actual Earth evolution begins in the fourth and middle of the seven so-called rounds or life stages, during which the Earth existence unfolds. In the first three rounds, earlier states of embodiment of the earth were repeated in an abbreviated form in order to make the fruits of these earlier forms of existence ripe for the actual earth development. The actual Earth evolution, the fourth round, will be followed by three more rounds in which future new embodiments of the Earth will be anticipated in a certain sense. Each state of life is in turn divided into seven form states, the fourth and middle of which is the physical form state in which the physical Earth evolution takes place.
  3. cf. the table in Bosse 2002, p. 57
  4. Abstract concepts of time, detached from things, are not meaningful for the contemplation of nature. Rather, one must rely on the intrinsic time of the system under consideration. For example, the Earth year or the Platonic year can only serve as a reference since the separation of the Sun, Earth and Moon. Intrinsic time is rooted in the essence of a living, developing wholeness and expresses itself through the processes that take place in it periodically in an orderly sequence and thereby constantly metamorphose. All living beings and all living systems, such as our earth, the entire planetary system and the cosmos as a whole, are such wholes and each has its own specific time. There is no absolute time deducted from things. Time measurements can therefore not be related to them, but consist in comparing different proper times with each other.

    „And this brings me to the fact that basically every entity that may be regarded at all as a totality actually carries its time within itself. I can consider a piece [of an] inorganic body for itself, but not a leaf, because it only has a part in the tree. In my observation, therefore, I must take into consideration what is a total system closed in on itself, what is a totality. But every totality that I look at in this way has time in it as something immanent. So that I can't really have much to spare for the abstract time that is still outside every thing and exists [alongside] the time immanent in every thing or process. When I consider the time that is to go from beginning to end, it seems to me just as when someone forms the abstract concept for the individual horse. The individual horses are there in the external spatial reality, but in order to get the concept, I have to attribute something else to it. It is the same with time. The question: Is time in itself variable or not? - has no real content, because every total system has its [own] time in its immanent being, and its [own] course of speed. The course of velocity of the inorganic or of the process of life leads back to this immanent time...

    In geology we describe one period after another, as if it were a reality. It is not. It is only a reality with the whole of the Earth, in the same way that an organism is a reality, where I must not tear out one thing. Instead of relating our processes to coordinate axis systems, it would be more important to relate them to their own inner reality, then we would arrive at totality systems. And then we would have to come back to a kind of monadism.“ (Lit.:GA 324a, p. 144)

    Moreover, developmental epochs do not simply follow each other, but overlap in wide areas. As a rule, the beginning of the following epoch is already indicated in the middle of the preceding one and continues to have an effect until the middle of the next one.

    Cf. also (Lit.: Bosse 2002, p 38ff)