Spirits of Form

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The Spirits of Form (SoF), also called Exusiai (Greekἐξουσίαι), Elohim (Hebrewאלהים), Potestates (Lat.) or Powers, have already passed through their stage of humanity before the beginning of the old Saturnian evolution. The dominion of the Exusiai extends to the solar sphere. Their name derives from the fact that they are the creators and sustainers of the fixed physical forms. Rudolf Steiner also calls them Revelations (Lit.:GA 102, p. 149). They are those spiritual forces which shape the spatial out of the spaceless and guide the spiritual forces out of eternity into temporal development. (Lit.:GA 184, p. 207ff)

„The name of the sacred powers, which stand on the same level with the divine dominions and powers, signifies, as I believe, the well-ordered and unconfused harmony in the reception of the divine and the fixedness of the supramundane and spiritual position of power, which does not abuse the powers flowing from the power with tyrannical arbitrariness to inferior ends, but invincibly ascends to the divine in beautiful order and kindly guides the lower beings upwards, which resembles the violence-creating original source of violence as far as possible and radiates it most powerfully to the angels according to the well-ordered stages of the power flowing out of violence.“

Dionysius Areopagita: Celestial Hierarchy, 8th chapter[1]

Due to their level of development, a planetary existence is no longer sufficient for their further development and they therefore chose the sun as their place of residence. Sun and earth have therefore been divorced from each other. They weave in the sunlight, which is why Rudolf Steiner also calls them light spirits (Lit.: e.g. GA 98, p. 229, GA 102, p. 149, GA 103, p. 53, GA 104, p. 122), and bring the meeting forces of the thrones and the dynameis to rest in the solid forms of the earth's surface, thus decisively shaping the face of the earth.

As Elohim, they are identical with the Creator Gods spoken of in the Bible. They direct and guide earthly development from the sun. Yahweh, one of the seven Elohim, later took up residence on the moon in order to guide further human development from here. This led to the separation of earth and moon in the Lemurian period.

During the development of the earth they became mature enough to be able to sacrifice their I-substance. They thereby gave the impulse for the development of the human "I". This also happened in the Lemurian period:

„We must be clear about the fact that everything that lay before the Lemurian period was really only a repetition of the Saturnian, solar and lunar existence, and that only then was the first germinal plant - as a possibility - laid in man, so that he could take on the fourth member of his being in the earth's development: the ego. If we take the whole current of the evolution of mankind, we must say that mankind, as it has spread over the earth - you have described this spread in more detail in the "Secret Science in Outline" - can be traced back in Lemurian times to certain human ancestors of this initial period of our present earth. And we must fix a point in time in the Lemurian period after which we can properly speak of the human race in the present sense. What went before cannot yet be spoken of in such a way that one could say that those I's were already present in the earthly human beings who then incarnated further and further. That was not the case. Before that, the I of man was by no means still separated from the substance of that Hierarchy which first gave rise to this I of man, from the Hierarchy of the Spirits of Form.“ (Lit.:GA 131, p. 177f)

At that time, however, not the whole I-substance of the Elohim entered into the earthly incarnations of man. A part was kept back in the spiritual world for the later Nathanian Jesus, who only descended to his first earthly incarnation at the turn of time, completely untouched by the consequences of the Fall.

What had already matured to perfection with the Elohim meant a completely new, germinal beginning for us. If the Elohim sacrificed their I-substance, this does not mean that we simply took it over. That would not have been possible, we would have had to skip many stages of development. Rather, the sacrifice of the Elohim triggered the development of our own I. There can be no question of our I being the same as the I that the Elohim gave up. Metaphorically speaking, it differs from it in the same way that an inextensible point differs from the circumference of an infinitely large circle. And even when our dot-shaped I will have expanded itself to the cosmic circumference, it will differ in many ways from the I that the Elohim once sacrificed. The development of the world is never exhausted in the constant return of the same.

The real sacrificial act of the Exusai consists in the fact that our I is thought through them:

„... our thoughts are almost nullities. But when a being from among the exusiai thinks, it thinks us. Our I is thought. And it is being as a thought of a being from the series of the exusiai. When we speak "I" to ourselves on earth, what are we looking at? Yes, this I: when we speak "I" [it is drawn: circle with the word "I", yellow], we look back at this I [red arrows], pronounce the word I. But a being from the series of exusiai [green line], for him this I is thought, but real, actual thought. We are through being thought of by beings from the series of the exusiai. And when we speak "I" to ourselves, we are actually stating that we are thought by beings of the gods. And in this being thought of by god-beings consists our higher being.“ (Lit.:GA 270b, p. 56)



  1. Dionysius Areopagita: Himmlische Hierarchie. Aus dem Griechischen übersetzt von Josef Stiglmayr. (Bibliothek der Kirchenväter, 1. Reihe, Band 2) München 1911, S. 47