Members of the elementary beings

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The members of the elementary beings are of a different nature than those of humans. Although the elementary beings, like human beings, have four fundamental members of their being, they are much more earthly oriented and are partly rooted in the lower three elementary kingdoms. (Lit.:GA 102, p. 162ff)

The gnomes, who are closely connected with the earth element, have a physical body as their highest element. Below this they have three further members of being which reach down into the third, second and first elementary kingdoms. Due to the effect of these three lower members, the physical body of the gnomes is not usually visible to the senses. Only under the high pressure of the earthly depths do they take on something like physical materiality. If this pressure is released, this physical materiality dissipates very quickly.

„Certainly the beings we call gnomes or goblins have a physical body, but they lack I, astral body and etheric body. These are precisely the beings that have the physical body as their highest, which we call gnomes. They have three principles that lie beneath the physical body, which have the effect that their physical body can be much less visible than the physical body of man. The powers of these beings, which lie beneath the physical plane, mean that even that which is the principle of the physical body can never be physically visible to ordinary eyes. If they are to have an approximately physical matter, they can only have it under a tremendous pressure, as happens when outer matter presses them together. Then their corporeality is pressed together in such a way that they sit huddled together in large numbers and develop in such a ghastly way as I have just described. In general, the process that occurs for them when you remove the external pressure from them is a process of dissolution that takes place with tremendous rapidity. The same process that you can perceive in human beings after death takes place in them with tremendous rapidity when you remove the earth. Therefore they can never become visible, even if they have a physical body. For those who can see through this physical earth, they have a small physical body. However, this physical body, which they have according to the principle of power, has within it something that is similar in its structure, in its organisation, to the human tool of thought, the human tool of intelligence. It is therefore not without reason that those who form gnomes out of a certain sense of nature make the heads particularly characteristic. All the symbols that are drawn there have a kind of reality. You find in these gnomes a kind of intelligence that works almost automatically. It is really as if you were to think of your brain as having been taken out of you, and it is not permeated by your higher members; then it does not work in you in the sense of the higher development, but it works against the higher development. Hence we have before us the beings which we call gnomes in this way.“ (Lit.:GA 102, p. 171f)

The Undines, who are connected with the water element, have an etheric body as the highest member of their being, then a physical body and below that two more members, which are rooted in the third and second elementary kingdoms.

The Sylphs, who weave in the air element, have an astral body, an etheric body, a physical body and another element in the third elemental kingdom.

Only the Salamanders have an I, an astral body, an etheric body and a physical body, just like human beings. However, their I is not fully developed. Salamanders develop as a cut-off of the group soul of higher animals, such as apes, if not everything returns to the bosom of the group soul at their death and its I-like remnant remains.

Elementary beings Physical body and above below
Salamander 4 0
Sylphs 3 1
Undines 2 2
Gnomes 1 3

„All the spirits of nature which are so formed as our diagram shows, that they have one member from man and three members under man, are those which we call "gnomes", those which are called "undines" have two members under man, and the "sylphs" have three members from man and one member under man. They are all retarded in earlier planetary times. They have not attained to a spirit that is already unfolding in man today. They are below the human being, they are "sub-spiritual" and consist only of body and soul. They are twofold beings and we call them gnomes, undines and sylphs. Now you will ask me, when you hear the name "salamanders", where do they come from?

Gnomes, undines and sylphs are retarded entities from earlier earth states. The salamanders have come into being in a certain way by the fact that they have partly, but only partly, developed the fourth principle, but that they have not come so far as to be able to assume a human form.“ (Lit.:GA 102, p. 178)


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