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Human Embryo after a nine-week pregnancy (or seven weeks post ovulation).

Reproduction or procreation is the seventh and last of the seven basic life processes that Rudolf Steiner distinguished. Reproduction is closely connected with the cosmic effects of the lunar sphere (Lit.:GA 170, p. 113ff).

The reproduction of man has changed significantly in the course of human evolution. As long as the Moon was still connected with the Earth, the human being reproduced asexually. Only when the Moon left the Earth did the sexes separate and thus sexual reproduction take place, which was necessary for the human being to develop his individuality. Whereas in asexual reproduction the offspring is genetically largely identical and thus a kind of biological immortality is guaranteed, in sexual reproduction the interaction of two partners of the same species, but of different sex types, through the associated exchange of genomes, leads to a rapidly progressing differentiation, through which the individual being with its unique genetic particularity is, however, also necessarily subject to biological death. The necessity of mate choice decisively promoted the development of the senses, among other things, and a wealth of completely new behavioural patterns and stronger social bonds could emerge.

In the future, sexual reproduction will again give way to asexual reproduction. At that time, the Moon will reunite with the Earth.

The transition from asexual to sexual reproduction

In the Polar epoch, man entered the Earth as an astral being that had come over from the Old Lunar evolution. These astral beings were the ancestors of man; they did not yet carry the self-conscious spirit within them. It was not until the middle of the Lemurian period that the spirit united with the being that had emerged from that ancestor. The astral beings were first enveloped in an etheric body. This was elongated-elliptical and showed limbs and the later organs as fine shadings. When this body, completely dominated by the soul, had reached a certain size, it split into two daughter beings, which were equally gifted with souls as the mother being. This was possible because it was not only a certain number of human souls that entered the earthly arena but, as it were, a soul tree that could let uncounted individual souls emerge from its common root.

The Earth became more and more condensed and in the following Hyperborean epoch the soul lost the ability to form the substance. This led to a new form of reproduction in which the daughter being was much smaller than the parent being. Moreover, from now on reproduction was bound to special reproductive organs. The soul forces that became free and could no longer seize the substance made the first inner sensations possible:

„The outer substance, precisely because of its compression, is no longer such that the soul can give it life directly. Therefore, a special part is separated in the interior of the structure. This withdraws from the direct influence of the outer substance. Only the body, which is outside this separate part, remains exposed to these influences. It is still in the same condition as the whole body was before. In the separated part the soul continues to work. Here the soul becomes the carrier of the life principle (called prana in theosophical literature). Thus the bodily human ancestor now appears equipped with two members. One is the physical body (the physical shell). It is subject to the chemical and physical laws of the surrounding world. The second is the sum of organs which are subject to the particular principle of life. - Now, however, a part of the soul's activity has become free. It no longer has any power over the physical part of the body. This part of the soul's activity now turns inwards and forms a part of the body into special organs. And thus begins an inner life of the body. It no longer merely lives with the shocks of the outer world, but begins to feel them inwardly as special experiences. Here lies the starting point of sensation. At first this sensation appears as a kind of sense of touch. The being feels the movements of the outer world, the pressure exerted by the substances and so on. The beginnings of a sensation of warmth and cold also appear.“ (Lit.:GA 11, p. 76ff)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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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.