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The blue north window of the first Goetheanum, showing the initiation into the world of spirit, into the Devachan.

The Devachan or mental plane is - in reference to the Indian theosophical Terminology - the spirit land, the spiritual world in the narrow sense.

„Deva means God and Chan means territory, dwelling place; thus Devachan means God's territory. Inasmuch as the man is a spiritual being, he has a share in the spiritual world.“ (Lit.:GA 94, p. 134)

The World of the Spiritual Archetypes

The Devachan is the world of the spiritual archetypes, the archetypal world[1]. In the Jewish Kabbalah it is called Atziluth or Azilut (Hebrewאֲצִילוּת "nobility, sublimity, goodness, fire") and comprises the highest triad of the Sephiroth, namely Keter (crown), Chokhmah (wisdom) and Binah (intellect). This world does not primarily reveal itself to spiritual perception in inner images, in imaginations, but through inspiration as a harmony of spheres experienced by the "inner ear" as sound, which is also reflected in the effects of the sound ether and in the numerical relationships in chemical reactions, and then further as the word experienced inwardly (Lit.:GA 94, p. 140).

The Seven Regions of the Devachan

The Devachan is divided into seven clearly distinguishable regions. The four lower regions are collectively referred to as the Lower Devachan. Here, in ascending order, are found the formed spiritual archetypes of the physical world, the archetypes of the living and the archetypes of the soul. The fourth region of the spirit land, which is also called the Akasha, is the source of the archetypal thoughts. Because we are dealing here with formed archetypes, the Lower Devachan is also called Rupa-Devachan (from Sanskritरुपा Rupa "form"). The three lowest regions of the lower devachan correspond to the three outermost planetary spheres, beginning with the Martian sphere; the fourth region, in which the source of the archetypal thoughts lies, already extends beyond the planetary system (Lit.:GA 141, p. 178ff).

The three highest regions of the spirit-land together form the so-called Higher Devachan or Arupa-Devachan (from Sanskritअरूप Arupa "unformed, formless") according to Indian theosophical expression. This is where the still unformed germinal points of the soul, of the living and the physical are located in ascending rows. Rudolf Steiner occasionally refers to the Higher Devachan as the superspiritual world.

1. The spiritual archetypes of the physical world. - the continental area of the spirit land (Mars sphere).
2. The archetypes of the living - the sea area, the ocean of the spiritual world (Jupiter sphere).
3. The archetypes of the soul - the circle of air, the atmosphere of the heavenly world (Saturn sphere). Lower Devachan
4. The source of primordial thoughts. This region is also called the Akasha.
5. Seed points of the soul
6. germinal points of the living Higher Devachan
7. germinal points of the physical

At the boundary between the lower and higher Devachan lies the Akasha Chronicle, which contains everything that has ever been thought by spiritual beings.

The Lower Devachan and the Outer Planetary Spheres

In the life between death and new birth, the human soul ascends through the planetary spheres. It first travels through the various regions of the astral world and finally reaches the Devachan when it enters the Mars sphere.

„Between death and new birth, man is in a certain connection with the other planets. You will find described in my "Theosophy" the Kamaloka. This sojourn of man in the world of the soul is a time during which man becomes a lunar dweller. Then he becomes a Mercury-dweller, then a Venus-dweller, then a Sun-dweller, a Mars-dweller, a Jupiter-dweller, a Saturn-dweller, and then a dweller in the wider space of the heavens or the world. It is not wrong to say that between two incarnations on earth there are embodiments on other planets, spiritual embodiments. Man is not yet so far advanced in his development that he can remember in his incarnation what he has experienced between death and new birth, but in the future this will be possible.“ (Lit.:GA 130, p. 318f)

The Continental Region of the Devachan

„This region of Mars now coincides with what you will find described in my "Theosophy" as the first part of the spirit land. In this description in "Theosophy" you will find from within how the soul of man is so far spiritualised that it now sees what is, so to speak, the archetype of physical corporeality, of physical conditions on earth in general, as something external. Everything that is the archetype of physical life on earth appears like a kind of continental region of the spirit world. Into this continental region is drawn that which is the outer form of the various incarnations. With this region of the spirit-land the same is inwardly described which man has to live through, if one speaks cosmically, in the region of Mars.“ (Lit.:GA 141, p. 178f)


Rudolf Steiner: Theosophie. Einführung in übersinnliche Welterkenntnis und Menschenbestimmung , GA 9 (2003) English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub Rudolf Steiner: Grundelemente der Esoterik, GA 93a (1987) English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub Rudolf Steiner: Kosmogonie, GA 94 (2001), ISBN 3-7274-0940-1 English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub Rudolf Steiner: Das esoterische Christentum und die geistige Führung des Menschen, GA 130 (1987), Neuchâtel, 18. Dezember 1912 Rudolf Steiner: Das Leben zwischen dem Tode und der neuen Geburt im Verhältnis zu den kosmischen Tatsachen, GA 141 (1997), ISBN 3-7274-1410-3 English: German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub

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: URL:
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 - 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. Not to be confused with the actual World of Archetypes, by which is meant the Buddhi plane, the World of Providence, which is superior to the Devachan.