Old Moon

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Old Moon, painting by F. Heinrich

The Old Moon, not to be confused with our present Moon, was according to Rudolf Steiner the third embodiment of our Earth or our whole planetary system. It is also called the Cosmos of Wisdom. The name derives from the fact that in order to explore this ancient lunar state, one must start from the clairvoyant observation of the present Moon. (Lit.:GA 136, p. 140ff) The Old Moon, which was followed by our Earth's development, was preceded by the world development stages of the Old Saturn and the Old Sun.

The Spirits of Movement as Regents of the Ancient Lunar Evolution

The lunar evolution was governed by the Spirits of Motion. The highest lunar regent was the Holy Spirit. The lunar evolution is also called the third day of creation, Dies Lunae = Moon Day, in occult language. (Lit.:GA 99, p. 103)

The world mission of the Old Moon was to form the astral body of man and to establish the possibility of thinking. (Lit.:GA 121, p. 97)

The old Moon as the work of the third Hierarchy

The Old Saturn, which preceded the evolution of the Sun, was the joint work of the first Hierarchy, that is, the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. The Old Sun was brought forth by the second Hierarchy, the Kyriotetes, Dynamis and Exusiai. The third Hierarchy, the Angeloi, Archangeloi, and Archai, were instrumental in the development of the Old Moon.

„"Now we go further. The further evolution is now again guided by the sons of the second Hierarchy, by Archai, Archangeloi, Angeloi. These entities bring a newness into the luminous element, which at first, through the second Hierarchy, has drawn in its shadow, the airy darkness after it - not the indifferent neutral darkness, the Saturnian, which was simply absence of light, but that which worked out the contrast of light. To this development the third Hierarchy, Archai, Archangeloi, Angeloi, brings in through their own being an element which is similar to our desire, our urges to attain something, to long for something.

Through this the following came about, through this it came about that, let us say, an Archai or Angeloi being came in here (see drawing p. 17, point on the ray of light on the right) and encountered an element of light, I would like to say, a place of light. In this place of light it received through the receptivity for this light the urge, the desire for the darkness. It carried the Angeloi being the light into the darkness, or an Angeloi being carried the darkness into the light. These entities become the mediators, the messengers between light and darkness. And the consequence of this was that then that which formerly shone only in the light and drew its shadow, the dark airy darkness, began to shimmer in all colors, that light appeared in darkness, darkness in light. It is the third hierarchy that has conjured up the color from light and darkness. You see, here you have also, so to speak, something historically documentary to put before your soul. In the time of Aristotle, when one asked oneself, I would like to say, within the mystery, where the colors come from, one still knew that the entities of the third hierarchy have to do with it. Therefore Aristotle said in his color harmony that the color means a cooperation of the light and the darkness. But this spiritual element, that behind the warmth one has to see the entities of the first hierarchy, behind the light and its shadow, the darkness, the entities of the second hierarchy, behind the colored glittering in a wide context the entities of the third hierarchy, that was lost. And there was nothing left but the unfortunate Newtonian theory of colors, about which the initiates smiled until the 18th century, and which then became the creed of those who are physical experts.

One really does not have to know anything more about the spiritual world if one can speak in the sense of this Newtonian color theory. And if one is still inwardly incited by the spiritual world, as was the case with Goethe, one resists it. One puts down, as he did, the right thing and scolds terribly. For Goethe never scolded so much as on the occasion when he had to scold about Newton; he scolded terribly about the nonsensical stuff. Such things cannot be understood today, for the simple reason that today someone is a fool before the physicists who does not recognize Newton's theory of colors. But things are not in such a way that, for example, in Goethe's time Goethe would have stood there all alone. Among those who spoke these things outwardly, he stood alone, but the knowing ones, even at the end of the 18th century, they knew quite well how color springs up within the spiritual.

But you see, the air is the shadow of the light. And just as, when light arises, under certain conditions the dark shadow is there, so arises, when color is there and this color works as reality - and it could do that, as long as it penetrated into the airy element -, so arises, when the color sprays in the airy element, works in the airy element, thus is something, is not only a reflection, is not only the reflex color, but a reality, which sprays in the airy element: then, just as counterpressure arises under certain conditions, the liquid, the watery element arises from the real colored element. As the shadow of the light is air, cosmically thought, so the water is the reflection, the creation of the colored in the cosmos. You will say: I don't understand that. - But try just once to grasp actually the colored in its real sense.

Drawing from GA 233a, p. 20

Red - well, do you think that the red is really in its essence only the neutral surface as which one usually looks at it? The red is something that makes an attack on you, after all. I have mentioned it many times. One wants to run away from the red, it pushes one back. The blue-violet, you want to run after it, it always runs away from you, it becomes deeper and deeper. Everything lives in the colors. The colors are a world, and the soul element really feels in the world of colors in such a way that it cannot get along without movement, if it follows the colors with the soul experience.

You see, man is gazing at the rainbow today. If you only look at the rainbow with some imagination, you will see elemental beings who are very active at the rainbow. These elemental beings show very strange appearances. Here (at red and yellow) one sees certain elemental beings coming out of the rainbow continuously. They then move over like this. The moment they arrive at the lower end of the green, they are attracted. You see them disappear here (at green and blue). On the other side they come out again. The whole rainbow shows, for the one who looks at it with imagination, a flowing out of the spiritual, a disappearance of the spiritual. It really shows something like a spiritual roller, wonderful. And at the same time, one notices in these spiritual entities that by coming out of there, they come out with a great fear, by going in, they go in with a quite invincible courage. If you look at the red-yellow, fear is emanating, if you look at the blue-violet, you get the feeling: There everything lives like courage, like bravery.

Now imagine that not only the rainbow is there, but if I now draw a section here (see drawing, plate 2 above) and the rainbow stands like this (turned by 90°), the entities come out of there, there they disappear; here fear, here courage (see drawing p. 22). The courage disappears again. So now the eye would be directed, here is the rainbow, here is now red, yellow and so on.

Drawing from GA 233a, p. 22

There the rainbow gets a thickness. And there you will already be able to imagine that aqueous element arises from it. And in this watery element now live spiritual entities, which are really also a kind of image of the entities of the third hierarchy. One can already say: If one approaches the knowing ones of the 11th, 12th, 13th century, one must understand such things. You can't even understand the later ones anymore, you can't understand Albertus Magnus if you read him with what man knows today. You have to read him with a kind of knowledge that such spiritual things were still a reality for him; then only you understand how he uses the words, how he expresses himself. And in this way appear like a reflection of the hierarchies air, water. As the hierarchies themselves penetrate, the second hierarchy penetrates in the form of light, the third hierarchy in the form of the colored. But with the fact that this forms, the moon existence is reached.“ (Lit.:GA 233a, p. 18ff)

The Moon Evolution and the Emergence of Evil

At the beginning of the Moon development the Saturn and Sun development repeated itself on a higher level. Then the Old Moon separated from the Sun and circled around the sun approximately where today's Mars draws its orbits, turning around itself only once during a round trip. This sun, which formed the center of the old lunar world, did not resemble the original Old Sun, from which the lunar world had emerged, nor our present Sun.

The Old Moon evolved from the Old Sun by the Spirits of Motion compressing the mass of the Old Sun to the limit of the present Mars sphere. Thereby the air partly condensed to water. At the same time, however, the light ether, which had developed during the Old Sun existence, partly refined itself to the sound ether. These etheric forces separated later with the sun and affected the moon only from the outside. The advanced spiritual powers went with the sun, while the retarded powers remained on the Moon. The latter became luciferic entities and the first disposition to egoism arose, but with it also to independence. This development was connected with violent conflicts, which are called in the esotericism as quarrel in the sky, and whose traces we can observe today in the debris field of the planetoids between the Mars and Jupiter orbit. Thus the possibility of the evil on the Old Moon arose.

The feminine communal consciousness of the Old Moon

The Old Moon had a high degree of communal consciousness, which was perceived as feminine (Isis). The Sun shining in from outside was perceived as masculine (Osiris). At certain times, when the Old Moon was in a certain position with respect to the sun, the whole Moon resounded as the individual beings shouted out into the cosmos their drive, which was a kind of germ of the reproductive instinct, but not out of their individual experience, but as a collective expression of this cosmic constellation.

The natural kingdoms of the Old Moon

The Old Moon was a liquid to viscous world body, surrounded by an atmosphere of fire air permeated with moisture. The natural kingdoms were very peculiarly shaped. The basic substance resembled a kind of plant mush, which was similar to an internally semi-living mass of peat moss. There was not yet a solid mineral kingdom in our earthly sense, but the lowest kingdom of nature was something like a mineral-plant kingdom, which stood on a stage of development that lay between our present minerals and our present plants. Above it rose an inwardly sensitive plant-animal kingdom, which was developmentally between our present animals and plants. The third kingdom of nature, standing between animals and humans, was an animal-man kingdom to which humans belonged in their degree of development at that time. Originally, there had been a human kingdom, an animal kingdom and a plant kingdom on the Old Moon. Through the exit of the Sun, these were each raised by half a level of development, so that the aforementioned intermediate kingdoms came into being.

„Not only during our evolution of the Earth, but already during the evolution of the Moon, the Sun once left the common world body, so that in the middle of the evolution of the Moon we have two bodies, the lunar body - Earth plus Moon - and the Sun, which separated with the most advanced entities, because these entities needed a more elevated scene for their further evolution. As a result of the fact that the finer forces and entities went out, the coarser ones remained on Earth, and this world body - Earth plus Moon - thereby experienced a condensation, so to speak. So we see that already at that time in the old lunar era the Sun with its entities acted from outside during some time on the remaining lunar body. Now it will be necessary to describe this remaining body to you a little more closely, because we have gone through a part of our development on it. On Saturn there was only the physical body; man had the value of a mineral. On the Sun man rose to the value of a plant, for he had a physical and an etheric body. Now, however, certain beings were left behind, in that they did not ascend to the human-plant existence on the old Sun, but remained on the level of Saturn. These are the forerunners of certain animals of today. You see, the man of today reaches back in relation to his past to the Old Saturn, while only on the Sun the forerunners of a part of our animals of today appear as a second kingdom beside man. For the same reason, because of a retardation of certain entities, man, who had worked his way up to a tripartite being on the Moon, was surrounded by two other kingdoms: by a kingdom which had remained on the Moon in the stage of the plant - the precursors of our present animals - and by that which was now on the Moon still in the stage of the mineral, the precursors of our present plants. That what is mineral today, that did not exist yet on the Moon, that arose only at the latest as a separation of the other kingdoms. Of course, he who asserts such things knows very well that it is nonsense to speak in the present sense of the word that plants could develop without the basis of a mineral kingdom; but it was quite different conditions in former times. In fact, on the Old Moon, man developed, so to speak, in the animal kingdom, the animal in the plant kingdom, the plant in the mineral kingdom, and when the Moon separated from the Sun, all the kingdoms underwent a shift, which happened in the following way.

If we think of the Old Moon, then first of all the three kingdoms mentioned above are present:

  1. the human kingdom - actually animal kingdom, consisting of physical, etheric and astral body;
  2. the animal kingdom - actually plant kingdom, consisting of physical and etheric body;
  3. the plant kingdom - actually mineral kingdom, because it has only physical body.

Our present mineral kingdom does not exist yet. When now moon and Sun separate, the entities and powers of the Sun are completely freed from the coarse substances of the moon and can work all the stronger. Thereby all three kingdoms are raised by one step. That which is human astral body is lifted out of its intimate connection with physical and etheric body, so that if you think of man with his physical, his etheric and astral body in the beginning of lunar existence, you will later perceive an essential change: By the Sun coming out and beginning to shine from outside, the astral body and the etheric body are partly liberated. The consequence of this is that something arises which you must imagine like this: Think of today's human being as consisting of physical body, etheric body and astral body, and now an external force would come which would drive out the astral body and the etheric body; then, for the clairvoyant, your astral body and your etheric body would exist outside yours. But you yourself would be lifted up by half a step by the fact that these two bodies would be freed from the heaviness of the physical body. And something like that also happened at that time. Man was also lifted up, he became a being, which stands in the middle between today's man and today's animal, but which was directed and guided in spiritual relation by the sublime solar powers. In the same way the other two kingdoms were lifted up a little, so that in the middle of the lunar evolution we have not our present-day kingdoms, but intermediate kingdoms: a kingdom of animal man, a kingdom standing between animal and plant, and a plant mineral kingdom. And just as our minerals form the solid ground on which we walk about, so the entities of the Old Moon walked about on what was the lowest realm of the moon, on the plant mineral. This basic substance of the moon was not a mineral substance as it is on earth today, but a kind of semi-living being. If you would think today something like peat bog or like cooked lettuce or cooked spinach, such a mush, but thereby alive, bubbling up - then approximately you would have an idea of what was the basic mass at that time. And not rocks protruded from this mass, but formations like the wood, compacted plant mass, horn formations, that was at that time instead of the today's rocks. And for the clairvoyant view it shows up in such a way that one walked on a vegetable-mineral basis which experienced a compression, and these are the rocks. Out of it now grow, more or less firmly rooted, the animal plants, much more mobile than today; out of the viscous element they grow. They had a kind of sensation when they were touched. And out of the finest substances rose the animal man, who by no means reached down into the coarsest substances, but had his physical body out of the finest substances. And this physical body, which was in continuous transformation, looked quite strange; such a human head as man has today, the clairvoyant cannot discover on the Old Moon. In the physical body, even if it is still so soft and fluid, he discovers only animal-like head forms, and what protrudes from this animal-like head form is the etheric and the astral body. So for the physical sight all animal men had the most different forms, which remind of animals, but also only remind, and only when one ascends from the physical seeing to the astral seeing, then one beholds the higher nature of this moon animal-man. Such is the population of the Old Moon.“ (Lit.:GA 105, p. 85ff)

„The whole basic mass of the Moon is formed of a semi-living substance, which is in a sometimes sluggish, sometimes lively movement. A mineral mass in the sense of the rocks and the earth components, on which the present man walks around, is this not yet. One could speak of a kingdom of plant minerals. Only one has to imagine that the whole basic body of the moon consists of this plant mineral substance, as today the earth consists of rocks, arable earth etc. As at present rock masses pile up, so the lunar mass was intercalated with harder parts, which can be compared with hard wood formations or with forms from horn. And as now plants rise from the mineral soil, so the lunar ground was covered and permeated by the second kingdom, consisting of a kind of plant-animals. Their substance was softer than the ground mass and more mobile in itself. Like a tough sea this kingdom stretched over the other. And man himself can be called animal man. He had in his nature the components of the other two kingdoms. But his being was completely permeated by a life body and an astral body, on which the powers of the higher beings, emanating from the separated Sun, worked. Thus his form was ennobled. While the "Spirits of Form" gave him a form by which he was adapted to the lunar life, the spirits of the Sun made him an entity which raised him above this life. He had the power to ennoble his own nature with the faculties bestowed upon him by these spirits, indeed to raise that which was related to the lower realms to a higher level.“ (Lit.:GA 13, p. 192f)

„When the earth was still in the state which we call the Moon, there was no mineral kingdom on the Earth. At that time the whole moon was like a kind of plant, similar to a peat bog, soft and alive. On this plant-mineral earth plants lived in it. Mineral was not there yet. Only more solid components pulled themselves through in the kind, as tree trunks are. Rocks could not have been climbed at that time; they were not there. The solid, what one would have encountered at that time, would have been only as today the woody of the plants. In this living plant earth lived such plants which, if one had touched them, would have screamed; because they had feeling, were animal-plants. A remnant of these lunar plants is the mistletoe, which therefore can only thrive on other plants, i.e. on living things, because it has preserved this nature from the moon. Therefore it is also formed quite differently and has special occult properties, which are related to the lunar development. So there were on the Moon:

  1. a plant-mineral kingdom, which stood higher than the present mineral kingdom;
  2. an animal-plant kingdom of sentient plants;
  3. a kingdom of man-animals, which stood higher than the present animal kingdom and lower than the present man-kingdom.

On the Moon, the beings all lived on nitrogen to a great extent. The Moon was surrounded by a nitrogen atmosphere. The Moon perished from an abundance of nitrogen. The mushrooms, which even now live on a more vegetable soil, still contain a great deal of nitrogen and are therefore unfavorable for occult development. They are still more a kind of animal-plant like the animal-plants on the Moon.“ (Lit.:GA 266a, p. 150)

How from the nature kingdoms of the Old Moon the earthly nature kingdoms developed

From the animal-men of the Old Moon, as far as they could not develop further, our today's animals have developed for the most part. Likewise from the plant-animals our today's plants and from the mineral-plants the minerals. In individual cases the traces of this development can be read off still clearly at the today's forms; a simple, but meaningful example are the ice flowers at our winter windows. The splitting of the old lunar nature kingdoms into the today's earthly nature kingdoms took place, when the Moon separated from the Earth during the Earth's development.

„Let us now take a closer look at the separated Earth. It is still wrapped up in an air mass, which looked however completely different than our today's air. You must not think that this air was something like a glowing furnace in its interior, although the temperature was a much higher one than today. There were also many of the substances, which are solid today, liquid in the earth. An air, densely filled with vapors of the most diverse substances, enveloped the Earth, something that can be called fire air approximately, a repetition state of the former lunar state. When the earth became independent after the separation from the present moon, it was surrounded by a strange atmosphere, which one could call fire air. Because of the fact that the earth had freed itself from the atmosphere which had left with the moon, the beings became able to reach certain higher levels. Within this atmosphere the most advanced animal-men had reached a higher level than they had on the Moon, but only those who later became human beings. A great number of these animal-men stopped at the lunar stage. And the consequence of this was that they did not merely stand still, but because completely new conditions now arose - for there could still be animal-men only on the Moon - they sank down by half a step and became animals which did not exist on the Moon at that time. Thus we have two kingdoms: Humans, and the animal-man kingdom left behind, which gradually sank down to animals.

It was the same with the plant-animals. A certain number had evolved higher, into animals; others stopped and became plants. And the plant-mineral kingdom has distributed itself in such a way that some have become heavy minerals, and others have developed upward to plants. Not everything has developed according to one scale; what we know today as animals, for example, has developed partly in such a way that the man-animals have developed downward, and partly in such a way that the plant-animals have developed upward. Likewise, in the plant kingdom we have plant-minerals ascending and plant-animals descending side by side. The plants which today preferably form our aesthetic plant cover are those which have come into being through the upward development of the plant minerals of the moon, the violet, for example. On the other hand, everything that sounds musty to us is in descending development, while our green deciduous plants will reach higher levels in the future.

Our minerals have developed on the Earth at all. On the Moon there was nothing mineral yet, as it is today. This is the sunken plant-mineral kingdom, which was embedded in the earth as a solid crust. In the time in which the Earth threw out the Moon, what remained behind and later became mineral, solid metal and so on, was itself still completely a liquid mass. What was already solid at that time was just thrown out into the space of the world, because the Earth could not have developed higher, if it had kept these substances for itself. Then inclusions of those metals developed, which became solid most likely. Strange forms they had partly. What you meet today as granite, as gneiss in the mountains, showed at that time still quite clearly that it has originated, in that plant beings have formed down, stones have become.100“ (Lit.:GA 133f)

From the man-animal kingdom also the two sexes arose:

„Also the kingdom of the man-animals has split into two kingdoms, namely into the two sexes.[1] With it the physical love arose with the people, which again formed the bond between the two sexes and on the other hand the possibility for the higher development, for the spiritual knowledge. By the fact that the human kingdom split and the physical love arose, the gods could develop higher at the expense of the humans, because for the gods the physical love of the humans was life air just as for the humans and the animal the oxygen of the plants, as for the plant the light radiated back from the mineral kingdom. It is told in Greek myth that the gods live on nectar and ambrosia. This is the male and female love of the people. At the same time, the heart, lungs and warm blood developed in people - before that, people breathed through gills. They lived in an atmosphere that could not have been breathed through lungs. - Now the respiratory organs gradually transformed to be able to breathe in the oxygen in the air.

The ascent and evolution now consists of people overcoming physical love. The separation into the two sexes was necessary so that the intellect could develop in man. He was thereby divided into a lower and a higher nature. Now, however, that which unites the two sexes together must also be overcome again. It is a stage of ascent when man sacrifices the forces of physical love and transforms them into higher forces. By sacrificing these lower forces, the higher can come to light in him.“ (Lit.:GA 266a, p. 151f)


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  1. In two other, otherwise identical handwritten transcripts it says:
    "With it the physical love arose with the people. Thereby the kingdom of the gods could still rise above the kingdom of men. These live from the physical love of humans, just as humans and animals live from the oxygen which the plants emit, and just as the plants live from the light which is radiated back from the mineral world. It is told in the Greek myth that the gods live on nectar and ambrosia, which is the male and female love of man.
    The ascension of man is accomplished first by overcoming physical love; secondly, by regulating the respiratory process, giving up the life of the plant, oxygen; thirdly, by developing the kundalini light, giving back the light radiated back from the mineral kingdom."