Mineral kingdom

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white Orthoclase (potassium feldspar) with transparent quartzcrystals
Olivine from Mount Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica
Brilliant-cut diamonds

From the point of view of spiritual science, the mineral kingdom is the fourth and middle of the seven Conditions of Life into which each planetary stage of world evolution is divided. Like all Conditions of Life, the mineral kingdom is subdivided into seven Conditions of Form, which gradually condense from the unformed spiritual (arupa) to the physical and then just as gradually spiritualise again. The mineral kingdom thus encompasses far more than the minerals that appear physically-sensually in nature. The non-physical Conditions of Form of the mineral kingdom and the elementary beings associated with them, however, are only accessible to the imaginative spiritual seeing.


Minerals (from Latinaes minerale "mine ore") are substances formed by natural geological processes, usually crystallised in a solid polyhedral shape. Unlike rocks, they are formed from a single chemical element (e.g. diamond, sulphur, gold) or from a single chemical compound which has a defined structure and composition, but which may vary within certain limits due to the formation of homogeneous solid solutions[1]. Mostly these are inorganic, in rare cases also organic compounds, such as mellite (honey stone) or evenkite (Tetracosane C24H50). Currently, about 5000 independent minerals are known[2]. More than 90% of all minerals (quartz included) are silicates. The most common silicate minerals are the feldspars, which comprise about 59.5% of all minerals[3]. Particularly beautiful or valuable minerals, rocks or glass melts, but also fossil resins such as amber or other mineralised organic materials are called precious stones or gemstones. Liquids, with the exception of mercury, are not counted as minerals; for example, water is not considered a mineral, but crystalline ice is. Mineralogy is the scientific study of the formation, properties and usability of minerals.

drawing from GA 208, p. 141
drawing from GA 208, p. 141
Cube-shaped, intergrown Pyritecrystals from Navajún, La Rioja, Spain.
Ice flowers - ice crystals in plant-like form

„When we look at the original form of the mineral, it is the crystal form, the polyhedral form (see drawing); the mineral somehow appears polyhedral to us. This polyhedral form, which appears to us in one form in the case of one mineral and in another form in the case of another mineral, cannot be understood in any other way than by first looking at the material which has formed itself out of the forces which are active within the space of the mineral. We must imagine: If we have any elongated mineral, then the forces which act in this direction (drawing on the right) are suitable for drawing the mineral along its length. The forces acting in this direction (right, horizontal line in the middle) may then develop a lesser strength - or how we want to express it - which makes the mineral narrower in this direction, and so on. In short, in order to be able to speak of minerals at all, we must imagine, whether these forces act from without or from within, that these forces stand at angles to each other, that they act in certain directions, and above all we must imagine that these forces are there in the universe, at least that they are effective within the earthly sphere.

But then, if they are effective, they must also act upon the physical body of man, and the physical body of man must have in itself the tendency to become polyhedral. It only does not become polyhedral in reality because it still has its etheric body, its astral body, which do not allow the human being to become a cube or an octahedron or a tetrahedron or an icosahedron and so on. But the tendency is in man to become such things, so that we can already say: In so far as man is a physical being, he strives to become polyhedral. If you are glad that you do not wander about as a cube or as a tetrahedron or as an octahedron, it is because the other forces, those of the etheric body and astral body, are working against the octahedral or cube forces that are in you.“ (Lit.:GA 208, p. 140ff)

Origin of the mineral kingdom

The mineral kingdom, which is called the sea of glass in the Apocalypse of John (4:6, is today the lowest of the four kingdoms of nature. The basis of the mineral kingdom was already created on Old Saturn, but at that time it consisted exclusively of pure heat substance. It has since developed through four stages and reached its highest form so far in the crystalline earth element, which is related to those highest cosmic forces that were rightly called the crystal heavens in the medieval mysteries. Today most minerals exist as crystals. Behind the crystal forms, as active entities, stand the Spirits of Form, the Exusiai, who also gave man his I. The Spirits of Form are those spiritual forces which form the spatial out of the spatial and guide the spiritual forces out of eternity into temporal development (Lit.:GA 184, p. 207ff). Of all earthly substances, carbon, especially in its purest form as diamond, is best suited to absorb these formative forces and also to reflect them in its outer appearance. It is therefore rightly called the true philosopher's stone by Rudolf Steiner.

Only with the present form of the mineral kingdom was it possible to create the material basis for a human body that was capable of absorbing the I within itself and to offer the human being during his earthly embodiment the possibility of further developing this I independently. In doing so, the human being must take over mineral substances, which he absorbs with his food, up to his own warmth, up to his warmth ether, in order to become receptive for the cosmic forces that shape him. If this does not succeed, diseases arise, in the case of mineral sugar, for example, diabetes (Lit.:GA 230, p. 186ff). In the future, man will eat a purely mineral diet. Then the meaning of the Lord's Supper will be fulfilled.

„The meaning of the Last Supper is to pass from the nourishment of the dead animal to the nourishment of the dead plant. When our fifth sub-race will have come to an end, in the sixth sub-race, then the Lord's Supper will be understood. No more animal food will be eaten there. By then it will be possible for the third form of nourishment to come into being, the purely mineral form. Man will then be able to create his own food. He now takes in what the gods have created for him. Later he ascends and will himself prepare in the chemical laboratory what he needs in the way of nourishment.“ (Lit.:GA 93a, p. 247)

Like all kingdoms of nature, the mineral kingdom has also come under the influence of the adversaries through the Fall. Through his earthly activity, man cooperates in the redemption of the mineral kingdom; what cannot be redeemed passes into the so-called Eighth Sphere.

The mineral seems to be a model of dead solidified matter - and yet it is by no means as rigid as it first appears. If it had completely lost its inner mobility, it would have to crumble to dust at the slightest vibration due to its excessive brittleness. In the mineral, we feel with some justification, there is no life and no consciousness at work - and yet life and consciousness are of the greatest importance for its becoming, for its existence and for its passing away. That life plays around the mineral and participates in its formation can be observed very easily if the crystallisation process is inhibited by a lack of substance supply. Then so-called deficiency crystals are formed, as can be observed very well in the ice flowers on the winter windows. They clearly show plant-like growth forms. In fact, exactly the same life forces are at work here, the same laws of growth that also shape plants in nature. The finished, strictly geometrical form of the mineral is only the end product of a living growth process. And a consciousness also participates in the creation and shaping of minerals. It is an incredibly far-reaching deep trance consciousness, a true universal all-consciousness, through which the mineral becomes a silent confidant of the living happenings in the whole cosmos, right into the deepest depths of the universe. However, it is a very dull consciousness, a consciousness that is not experienced as an inner mental image - for that only exists in beings that carry an astral body within them, and it also has no knowledge of itself, no self-awareness. The mineral does not experience an inner image, but it forms its whole shape inwardly and outwardly according to the knowledge it receives from the universe. Each mineral, through its strictly formed but still individually variable shape, can thus become a secret gateway that connects us with the cosmos.

„If we now go to the mineral kingdom, we find that in the crystal forms we have something that leads us beyond our solar system into the space of the world; we can find in the formative forces of the mineral kingdom forces that reach far beyond our solar system. If we direct our gaze to the forms of the mineral kingdom, preferably to those forms that reach the point of translucence, we are thus led out so that we can get an inkling of what is going on in the world far beyond our solar system. The most abstract, that which has the least definite existence, which is now the basis of our existence, the mineral, has a universal existence, and the higher the entities stand, the more they are adapted to our solar and earth system.“ (Lit.:GA 105,, p. 137)

According to radiometric dating, zircons are the oldest minerals of the Earth and the Moon. The first specimens probably crystallised in the early phase of the Earth evolution about 4.4 billion years ago.

Mineral kingdom and physical body

The totality of the laws of the physical-mineral world form the physical body of man.

„If you really wanted to see the physical body, you would have to be able to eliminate the I, the astral body and the etheric body from the human being - in a similar way to how one eliminates three substances from a chemical composition consisting of four and retains one - and then you would retain the physical body. But that is not possible under the present conditions of existence on Earth. You will perhaps think that this happens every time a human being dies. But that is not correct. For what remains when a human being dies is not the physical body of the human being, but the corpse. With the laws that are then active in the physical body when death has occurred, the physical body could not live. These are not its very own laws, but laws that belong to the outer world. If, therefore, you follow these thoughts, you will have to say to yourself that what is usually called the physical body of man is a maya, a delusion, and what we in spiritual science call the physical body is that lawfulness, that law-organism, which within our mineral world creates the physical body of man in the same way as the law of crystallisation of quartz or that of emerald creates quartz or emerald. This human organisation effective in the mineral-physical world, that is actually the physical body of man.“ (Lit.:GA 124, p. 93)

The physical body, which is supersensible by its own nature and is a pure form, must be clearly distinguished from the substance-filled mineral body:

„One must carefully distinguish between the physical body and the mineral body. A physical body is that which is governed by the physical laws which are presently observed in the mineral kingdom. The present physical human body is not only governed by such physical laws, but is also interspersed with mineral matter. On Saturn [here we do not mean our present Saturn, but the so-called Old Saturn, which was an earlier state of development of our Earth] the physical laws expressed themselves only through the effects of heat. And the whole of Saturn consists of heat bodies. These heat-bodies are the first plant of the present physical-mineral human body. The latter has been formed from the former by the incorporation into the former of the gaseous, liquid and solid substances which were only formed later.“ (Lit.:GA 13, p. 159)


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 Definition of a Mineral, Nickel 1995
  2. IMA/CNMNC List of Mineral Names (December 2014, PDF, 1,5 MB)
  3. Cloos (1958), S. 139