Planetary system

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A planetary system is a cosmic organism comprising the entire astrosphere formed by the stellar wind emanating from the central star(s) and separated from the interstellar medium by the astropause. Shown here using the example of the heliosphere of our Sun formed by the solar wind, with the orbits of the planets and Pluto, bounded by the heliopause which is about 120 AU away from the Sun.

A planetary system or solar system, which is built up from a number of very different celestial bodies (fixed star, planets, moons, asteroids and comets), does not, in the anthroposophical view, come into being through physical forces alone, but is the result of the joint activity of higher spiritual hierarchies. There are many planetary systems in the cosmos, of which our solar system is a special example. In its totality, the highest Trinity creates an outer shell for itself. The communication between the individual planetary systems is guided by the highest Hierarchy, the Seraphim. Each planetary system develops further in seven successive stages of world evolution, each separated from the other by a purely spiritual, externally intangible existence. In the course of this series of development, it ascends from the planetary state to the fixed star system and, towards the end of the sevenfold series, further to the zodiac.

Physical structure

Our solar system is divided into an inner solar system and an outer solar system. Between the two lies the asteroid belt, whose spiritual cause of origin was the so-called fight in heaven, in which the primordial mystery of evil lies.

The four inner planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars; the four outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto, which was only discovered in 1930 and was long considered the ninth planet, has only been classified as a dwarf planet since 24 August 2006.

The space between the planets, the interplanetary space, is filled by an interplanetary medium. It consists of the hot plasma of the solar wind, from which the heliosphere of the Sun, which is about 120 astronomical units (AU) in diameter, is built up and extends far beyond the outermost planetary orbits, of interplanetary dust and other particles of cosmic radiation, some of which also originate from interstellar space. In the area of the Earth's orbit, the particle density is between one and ten million particles per cubic metre[1], and considerably more when solar activity is high.

Zodiacal light

The zodiacal cloud is a disc-shaped cloud of gas and dust that surrounds the Sun in the plane of the planetary orbits. It scatters the Sunlight and can be observed as zodiacal light. Starting from the Sun, it narrows in a wedge shape with simultaneously decreasing brightness and finally merges into a very faint, barely visible light bridge. Exactly opposite the Sun's position, you can see a slightly brighter oval spot, the gegenschein, which is produced by backscattered Sunlight. Only on particularly clear nights does it show up along the entire ecliptic as a zodiacal light band. The zodiacal light is best visible in spring after Sunset in the west and in autumn before Sunrise in the east.

„But now, gentlemen, if you look out into the world: People believe that when you look out into the world, it is empty and that the stars live in the empty space and so on. - In the past, the peasants believed that where they walked around was also empty. Today everyone knows that there is air, that it is not empty. In the same way, one can know that nowhere in the space of the world outside is empty; either matter is there, or spirit is there. You see, that there is nowhere empty in the space of the world can be virtually proved. It is interesting to consider that it is not empty. I want to prove by means of a certain sign that it is nowhere empty. Let us disregard the fact that the earth revolves around the Sun, as Copernicus taught us. Let us take the matter as it appears. Here we have the earth, and the Sun goes around the earth, rising in the east and setting in the west. There is always the Sun somewhere (drawing). Now there is something peculiar. In certain areas, in fact everywhere, if you watch closely, when the Sun rises and sets, but also otherwise, there is not only twilight, but there is something that always astonishes the world. There is something around the Sun that forms a kind of radiant light. Whenever the Sun is looked at, especially in the morning and evening, there is this radiant light in addition to the twilight. A light shines around the Sun. It is called the zodiacal light. This zodiacal light, gentlemen, gives people a lot of headaches, especially those who think materialistically. They think to themselves: the Sun in empty space can therefore shine, and when it shines we see that it illuminates the other bodies. But where does this light come from that is always around the Sun, this zodiacal light? - People have put forward an incredible number of theories about where this zodiacal light comes from. If the Sun is supposed to be flying around in empty space, or even just standing there according to Copernican doctrine, there can't be any light there! Where does this light come from? - It is terribly easy to find where this light comes from. You will certainly have walked through the city on a very clear evening and seen lanterns there. These lanterns have fixed boundaries. On a clear evening you can see the lights quite firmly bounded. But if you go on a foggy evening, you won't see such fixed boundaries, you'll see a kind of ring of light all around the bottom. Where does that come from? Because there is fog. In the fog inside, this glow of a ring of light forms. The Sun goes across the sky with a ring of light at certain times because the celestial space is not empty, but because it is filled with a fine mist everywhere. The zodiacal light is what is present in this fine mist as a glow. People have thought of all kinds of things. For example, that all kinds of comets fly through it. They certainly do. But this zodiacal light that goes with the Sun, that is stronger at certain times, sometimes weak, sometimes not there at all, that is because the nebulae in the space of the world are more or less condensed or thinned. So that we can say: Actually, the whole world-space is filled with something. - But I have already told you that we cannot believe that there is matter everywhere. I told you that the physicists, the materialistic physicists, would be very astonished if they came up there and expected the Sun to look the way they describe it in physics today. That is nonsense. If physicists could go up there, with any kind of favourable train, into the Sun, they would be astonished that they would find nothing there that was like a gas. They would find a cavity, a real cavity. It shines light. And what they would find would be precisely the spiritual. So that we cannot say: Everywhere is only substance - but we must say: everywhere is also spiritual, real spiritual.“ (Lit.:GA 354, p. 149f)

Structure of a planetary system from a spiritual point of view

In the spiritual-scientific sense, a planetary system is a living animate being, which, similar to man, has various essential members, which are, however, of a somewhat different nature than those of man.

The full extent of a planetary system is only revealed in the materially densest stage of development, which is reached in the middle of the sevenfold series of evolution, i.e. with the fourth re-embodiment of the planetary system. Our solar system is at present in this densest state and consists of {GZ||136|114}}:

  1. the moons, which in their totality form the corpse of the planetary system. Towards them the open spiritual gaze has the same impression as towards a human corpse. What works in the moons depends on the spiritual hierarchies down to the Archangelss (Archangeloi).
  2. The sensually visible physical planets, which represent the physical body. With clairvoyant vision, one has a comparable impression of the planets as one does of the living bodies of animals and humans. On the planets the spiritual hierarchies work down to the spirits of form (Exusiai). Each planet has its own Spirits of Form and Spirits of Motion (Dynameis), while the activity of the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones and Kyriotetes extends over all planets in the system.
  3. Of all, the conductor of which is the fixed star and thereby acts as the etheric body of the whole system. The evolution of the fixed star is dependent on the Hierarchies down to the Spirits of Wisdom (Kyriotetes).
  4. from the entities of the higher hierarchies, which together form the astral body of the solar system.
  5. The comets, who collect all harmful astral substances that have arisen within the planetary system and carry them out into the vastness of the cosmos. After passing through the planetary system, comets usually disappear from space and are re-formed from the other side when they return. Comets with closed elliptical orbits are the exception. The evolution within the comets is dependent on the entities of the higher hierarchies down to the Cherubim.

If one directs the clairvoyant gaze to the physical celestial bodies, so that these disappear for sensual perception, impressions of former planetary states rise up. The Moon of today thus becomes a memory-image of the Old Moon, the Sun, at its best when viewed purely spiritually at midnight, as also happened in the ancient Mysteries, becomes an image of the Old Sun, and if the spiritual gaze is finally directed to the comets, images of the Old Saturn rise up. (Lit.:GA 136, p. 137ff)


Space is a creation of the Trinity, and precedes the creative activity of the Hierarchies (Lit.:GA 110, p. 176). The formation of a new planetary system begins with the first Hierarchy searching for a suitable spherical space in the universe (Lit.:GA 110, p. 82) and working creatively into it from outside. The Seraphim receive the plans for the new world system from the Trinity. The Cherubim, who in their totality as zodiacal beings are encamped around this centre of their creative activity, work out these plans further, and the Thrones make possible a first realisation by letting out their substance of will, which at first appears externally only as heat.

The Beings of the Second Hierarchy work within the planetary structure thus created. The Kyriotetes, as Spirits of Wisdom, see to the correct arrangement of the whole world system, the Dynameis, or Spirits of Motion, see to the correct execution, and the Exusiai, or Spirits of Form, secure the closed existence of the whole planet.

Further development

This gives rise to a first planetary state, which at this time is not yet divided into individual celestial bodies, but is still a relatively uniformly formed world structure. This is a so-called occult planet which, as already indicated, develops further in the course of seven successive stages of world development. In concrete terms, this means that the planetary state first gradually enters into the outer appearance, which is also called Manvantara, following the Indian terminology, and thereby undergoes a certain process of development, which is directed towards the fact that those beings for whose spiritual development this sevenfold series of planetary states is created, can attain a very specific level of consciousness here. Once this goal has been achieved, the planet first withdraws from the outer appearance and enters a purely spiritual intermediate state, also called Pralaya according to Indian expression. After some time, the whole world system is reborn for the outer appearance, thus enabling the development of the next higher state of consciousness. In this sense, therefore, one can also speak of seven successive re-embodiments of the planetary system.

The zodiac, which surrounds the planetary system, also undergoes a development. It begins as an undifferentiated mass of nebulae and only gradually groups itself into such constellations as appear to us in the present development of the Earth as the well-known twelve constellations.

Our Earth evolution represents the fourth and middle stage of seven planetary states to which one can look back or prophetically look ahead with the opened spiritual gaze, whereby the future development is of course still open and can only be grasped in its previously predisposed basic lines. The seven stages through which our world system develops are designated by Rudolf Steiner as:

Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan.

They must not be confused with the planets of the same name in our present solar system, which is only the middle stage of this series of development. There is, however, a spiritual relationship between these occult planetary states and our present outwardly appearing planets, which justifies this naming.

Each of the 7 planetary stages of world evolution is further subdivided into 7 life stages, each of which in turn passes through 7 form stages, so that until the completion of the entire planetary evolution, a total of 7*7*7 = 343 stages of evolution are passed through. Esoterically, the number 7-7-7 is therefore regarded as the number of completion; it is occasionally also called the number of the Logoi, because the highest Trinity, the Trinity of the three Logoi Father, Son and Holy Spirit, guides the total development (Lit.:GA 94, p. 92). Planetary evolution enters a particularly critical phase on the sixth occult planet in the sixth form stage of the sixth life stage. This is indicated by the number of the beast 6-6-6, which is also spoken of in the Apocalypse of John, although there it does not refer to the critical phase of development of the whole planetary chain, but only to the critical point of our immediate earthly development.

Basic principles of planetary motion

Rudolf Steiner explains planetary motion in a completely different way than we know it from the Copernican world view. He describes various forms of movement such as screw movements, "artistic" movements, but above all lemniscate paths of the planets.

The planetary spheres as Dominions of the Hierarchies

Main article: Dominions of the Hierarchies

The spatial domains of the hierarchies from the Angels up to the Thrones are the planetary spheres in ascending order, if the geocentric Ptolemaic system is taken as a basis. They overlap with the Dominions of the Archangels, which are also assigned to the planetary spheres. The highest hierarchies, the Cherubim and Seraphim, have the whole zodiac as their field of activity. Man, as the tenth hierarchy, has the Earth as his domain during his earthly life. In the life between death and a new birth, he travels through all the planetary spheres up to the zodiac, first ascending, then descending again.

Ascension to the Zodiac

„A fixed star is an advanced planet that has repelled the things that could not come with it. The higher beings have founded an existence on the fixed star. Every fixed star has arisen from a planet. In the cosmos, too, an advancement, an moving up, takes place....

What becomes of a sun? - A sun becomes that which we see glittering down from the sky today as the zodiac. The higher stage of development of a sun is that it unfolds into the zodiac. The zodiac consists of the twelve constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. To the materialistic astronomer they are simply group pictures. The seer, however, knows that they are not simply placed in space, but that in their constellation they correspond to spiritual entities that are grouped around in this belt in the sky. When beings have completed their solar existence, they become such a zodiac. This, too, has a kind of development.“ (Lit.:GA 98, p. 192)

The evolution of our present planetary system

The currently scientifically accepted theories on the origin of our solar system are ultimately based on Kant-Laplace's nebular hypothesis, which Kant formulated in 1755 in his work Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels (Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens) and according to which the individual planets are supposed to have emerged at about the same time from a rotating cloud of gas and dust. This theory, however, only conveys an external image of cosmic events, behind which, in truth, sublime spiritual beings stand as the actual driving forces.

„When our earth emerged from its purely spiritual, devachanic state, when it first received a kind of externally perceptible existence, it was not as it is today; but it was in such a way that, viewed externally, it could really be understood as a great primeval mist, such as is described by external, physical science. Only we must think of this primeval nebula as being large, far larger than the earth of today, and that it extended far beyond the outermost planets which today belong to our solar system, far beyond Uranus. In terms of spiritual science, we imagine the matter in such a way that what we see emerging from a spiritual state is not merely a kind of physical primordial nebula. He who describes what comes forth as a kind of physical primordial mist and nothing more, is about as wise as a man who has seen another man and now, when asked what he has seen, says: "Muscles hanging on bones and blood I have seen! - who thus describes only the physical. For in the primeval mist are contained an abundance of spiritual forces and spiritual entities. They belong to it, and what happens in the primeval mist is a consequence of the deeds of the spiritual entities. Everything that the physicist describes is as if he stood on a chair in the space of the world and looked at the whole story. He really describes in the same way as that observer who denies the anger and passion that cause a slap in the face and sees only the moving hand. In truth, what is happening is the coming forth of world bodies and world spheres, deeds of spiritual entities; so that in the primeval mist we see the garment, the outer revelation of a fullness of spiritual beings.“ (Lit.:GA 102, p. 48f)

According to Rudolf Steiner, the evolution of our present planetary system began with the old stages of world evolution being repeated in an abbreviated form:

„Out of this world sleep then emerges the fourth metamorphosis of our Earth: our planet, the Earth itself. This first form of the Earth is, however, quite different from what our Earth now shows as a form. When it first shone forth, this Earth, out of the cosmic night, the twilight, it was large, immensely large, for it had the Sun and the Moon within it again; all the splitting off happened only later. It was so large that it reached as far as Saturn today. The differentiation of our system happened only later. The Kant-Laplace theory gives, as far as physical thought can, this first emergence of our earth in a quite intelligible way. It speaks of a nebula, a kind of primordial nebula, in which everything is dissolved, and from which therefore the whole solar system emerges. Through the rotation of this nebula, rings have formed, these rings condense, and through the rotation, the planets then form. In school, this is often illustrated by an experiment: an oil ball is made to rotate in a liquid of the same weight by means of a simple mechanical device. You can then observe how this sphere flattens out, how drops break away from it, which in turn form spheres and orbit the main sphere, and in this way you can see a kind of planetary system emerging on a small scale through the rotation. This has a tremendously suggestive effect. Why not imagine the same thing in the world? You can literally see it here, how a planetary system comes into being through the rotation, you have it in front of you! One forgets only one thing - oneself or the teacher who is doing the rotating. Nothing is explained by this external fact. Something like this world system does not arise out of nothing, does not arise out of the mist by itself, but because many spiritual entities have worked on it and at a certain point in their development have drawn out of the chaotic substance the finest substances and flung out the coarser ones, the Moon.

In the first period after the Pralaya, the Earth, which had now again united all the substances and beings within itself, repeated the Saturn state. At the beginning of this evolution it was not a sphere of gas, as is often wrongly supposed, but a sphere of heat. For it repeated the state of Saturn and reached as far as Saturn today. It is the spiritual beings who, at a certain stage, take their substances with them. Everything is based on the spirit, both in the separation of the sun and in the old development of the moon. Nothing external was to blame for this, but it was an inner necessity for some of the beings. The higher beings extract from the chaotic substance what they need. It is the spirit everywhere that directs the outer. When the earth first shone forth, everything was within it; these entities were within it at various stages of their development.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 226ff)

The splitting off of the planets from the Sun

In order to give the various spiritual hierarchies suitable spheres of activity appropriate to their stage of development, the individual planets were gradually split off from the Sun.

„The Sun had highly exalted beings who were creatively so far advanced that they could send light into the space of the world. Now I have often mentioned that one cannot remain seated only in school, but also in cosmic evolution. Man had come so far that he could bear the earth, the high beings so far that they could bear the Sun. Now, these beings who now inhabit the sun had previously been human beings, but in this evolution beings remained behind for whom it was impossible to complete their work, they could not easily inhabit the sun. If they had entered, they would have fared badly; man would not have been able to bear it either. But these entities stood between the sun gods and man. So they had to be given another world body, so to speak, where the conditions were in accordance with their existence. In the cosmic evolution provision was indeed made for these beings. Even before our Sun had separated from the Earth, at about the same time, our Jupiter separated from the Sun. Later, after the sun had already separated the earth, our present Venus separated from the sun; and still later, again by separation from the sun, the present Mercury.“ (Lit.:GA 98, p. 196f)

„Thus there were beings who in the beginning, when our evolution on Earth began, were hardly suited to take part in the further evolution, who were still so young in their whole evolution that every further step would have brought them ruin. They had to be given a stage, so to speak, where they could preserve their complete youthfulness. All other scenes are there to give dwelling-places to those who are already further along. For the beings who came into being last of all during the moon's existence, and who therefore remained at a very early stage of development, a scene had to be created which therefore has only a slight connection with our earthly existence: that world body which we call Uranus was formed. This became a scene for such beings who had to remain on a very far backward level.

Then the evolution continued. Everything that is in our world system, apart from Uranus, is now contained in a urbaceous mass. Greek mythology calls what was there before Uranus emerged "chaos". Now Uranus has taken shape; the other is, so to speak, still left behind in the chaos. Beings are now still connected with it which, in their development at that time, stood just on the level on which we human beings stood when our earth had passed through the state of Saturn. And for those who, precisely because they stood on this level, because they had only just begun their existence, could not take part in everything that came later, a special arena, "Saturn", was created for them. So a second world body split off, Saturn, which you can still see in celestial space today. It came into being because beings were on the same level as human beings were at the time of Saturn's existence on Earth. So while this Saturn came into being as a special world body, everything else that belongs to our present planetary system was present apart from it. The Earth, too, with all its beings, was still in this primordial mass. Only Uranus and Saturn were already outside.

The next thing that happened was that another planet split off, which had to become the scene for a certain stage of development. This is now "Jupiter", the third planet to split off from the nebular mass, which for us is actually the Earth. While Jupiter and the other planets we already know are outside, the Sun and Moon are still united with the Earth. These planets were indeed split off from the chaos when there was still in the Earth what is now also in our Sun, when our Earth was still completely one with the Sun and the Moon. At that time, when Jupiter split off, the forerunners of today's humanity gradually came into being, that is, today's human beings emerged again, just as a new plant emerges from a seed. These human seeds had gradually formed during the Old Saturn state, during the Old Sun state and during the Old Moon state. Now - the sun was still connected with the earth - these human seeds came forth again.

But now human beings could not have developed further in this way; they could not stand this pace when the earth was still together with the sun. And now something is happening which we understand well when we are clear about the fact that those entities which we have addressed as "fire spirits" are taking their scene out of the earth. The Sun pushes itself out of the Earth, and we now have Sun and then Earth and Moon together. During this time, in some way, which we shall not describe in detail now, because it would go too far, Mars remained as a setting for special beings, which then actually passes through the earth and moon and, as it passes, leaves behind in the earth with the moon what we know today as iron. Therefore it is also the cause of everything that is deposited as iron particles in the living beings, that is, in the blood. Now someone could say: Iron is everywhere, also in the sun and so on. - This is not surprising, for just as other bodies were in the primeval nebula, so Mars was everywhere in it with its iron, which it left behind; this is also in all the other planets! Here again we have the fact that scientists today are already producing marvellous proofs that the matter is as it is presented here by the spiritual-scientific teaching. You will remember that I once explained to you how one symbolically passes from the green sap of plants, the chlorophyll, to the blood of man. The plants came into being as such before this Mars passage took place, and they have preserved their quality. Then, in the beings which are now more highly organised than the plants, the iron has been deposited which fills the red blood. It is quite consistent with these spiritual-scientific facts when it was recently found in a laboratory in Berne that the blood cannot be compared with chlorophyll. That is precisely because it is stored later. We must not imagine that blood depends on the substantiality of the chemical element "iron". I say this particularly because someone might say that one cannot speak of a connection between chlorophyll and the blood. Today science has discovered that blood is due to the element "iron", whereas chlorophyll contains no iron at all. This, however, is in full accord with what spiritual science has to say; it is only a question of looking at things in the right light.

Now, for reasons which we have already mentioned, the "Moon" separates itself, so that we have the Earth for itself and the present Moon as its secondary planet. All beings are drawn to the sun, which are essentially of a higher nature than man and which we have called the fire spirits. But now there are certain beings who have not risen so high that they can really bear to be on the Sun. Realise what these entities are: they are entities which are very elevated above man, but which have not yet reached the point where they can live on the Sun, like the fire spirits. For these beings places had to be created. All the other places would not have served them, for they are for beings of a different kind, which have not reached the high age of those beings, which can be counted among the fire spirits, but have not quite completed the cosmic course. In the main, there were two types of beings that remained behind; for these, two special settings were created by the fact that two other planets split off from the sun, "Mercury" and "Venus". Mercury and Venus are two planets that split off from the sun as the scenes for those fire spirits who are far above human existence, but who could not have endured being on the Sun. Thus you have Mercury near the Sun as the scene for those entities which could not have lived on the Sun with the fire spirits, and Venus as the scene for entities which were in some respects behind the Mercury entities, but which were still far above man.

Drawing from GA 102, p. 56
Drawing from GA 102, p. 56

Thus, for inner reasons, for spiritually working activities, you have seen these different world bodies arise out of the primordial mist.“ (Lit.:GA 102, p. 53ff)

„And now I want to tell you something as a supplement to what we were already able to touch upon yesterday, to the fact that the sun separated from the earth plus the moon, and that then in turn the moon separated from the earth. That is correct in the main relationship, but this picture must be supplemented.

Before the sun was able to separate, it was already necessary for certain beings to separate particular places. That which they separated figures today as the outer planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. So we can say that in the general matter, where the Sun and Moon were, Saturn, Jupiter and so on were also inside, and certain entities first separated themselves with these world bodies. These were beings who had such needs of life as could be satisfied by living on these planets. Then the sun separated with the highest beings, and the earth plus the moon remained. This developed further until the moon was thrown out in the way described. But not all beings that had gone with the sun were able to take part in the evolution of the sun. If we may speak figuratively - it is difficult to find words for it in prosaic language; therefore it is sometimes necessary to speak comparatively - then we can say: When the sun split loose, certain entities believed they could bear to go along with the sun's journey. In reality, only the highest entities could, the others had to split off later. And because these entities created special settings for themselves, Venus and Mercury came into being. Thus we see the splitting off of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars before the separation of the Sun from the Earth. Afterwards Venus and Mercury split off from the sun, and then the moon separates from the earth.“ (Lit.:GA 112, p. 77f)

Thus the planetary spheres came into being as Dominions of the Hierarchies. The actual reality of the planetary spheres, however, is not on the outer physical plan, but on the astral plan.

„During the repetition of Saturn's state detach from the Earth: Uranus and Saturn. During the repetition of the state of the Sun detaches from the Earth: Jupiter. After separating from the Earth, the Sun detached: Mercury and Venus. After separating from the Sun, the Earth detaches: Moon. Neptune does not actually belong to our solar system.“ (Lit.:GA 98, p. 219)

„There are all kinds of degrees, even among the more mature entities. There were those who could not use the rapid tempo of the Sun and also again the slow tempo of the Earth. These already separated themselves before the separation, when the sun, earth and moon were still together, and formed special scenes for their work, had there the dominions suited to them. This is how the outer planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars were formed.

During the repetition of Saturn's state, Uranus, Vulcan and Saturn detach themselves from the Earth. During the repetition of the state of the Sun, Jupiter and Mars detach themselves. After the Sun separated from the Earth, it split off Mercury and Venus, after the Sun separation, the Earth split off the Moon. The splitting apart of the old moon was done by the forces of the advanced powers, which pulled out the solar body, while the normal and retarded ones formed the moon orbiting it. In all mysteries this is called the strife in the heavens. The scattered planetoids are the debris of that battlefield in which the primordial secret of the origin of evil must also be sought.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 228f)

Planetary Beings and Soul Development

Only when the various planetary beings moved into their spheres in the soul world (astral world) was the development of the higher soul and spiritual elements of the human being possible. Through the transformation of the astral body, the Mars beings stimulated the development of the sentient soul, later through the Mercury beings the intellectual soul, which was worked out of the etheric body, and through the Jupiter beings the consciousness soul, which was wrested from the physical body. Finally, in the last third of the Atlantean period, the Venusian beings gave the impulse for the unfolding of the spirit self.

„Thus planetary levels of existence were created for these beings who had not come along; they now inhabit these planets. At the time when the moon detached itself from the earth, a very mysterious process took place in our cosmic development, which is very difficult to explain and which is called the "passage of Mars through our earth". It is, as I have said, extremely difficult to explain, for when the earth was still connected with the sun, this Martian mass was in it; then the sun separated from the earth and then Mars went out and left behind on the earth the substance which is called iron. Mars, too, became a scene for such entities that did not come with it. These Martian beings are the stimuli for the development of the sentient soul. If they had not exerted their influence on our planet, the sentient soul would not have been able to develop. This shows you the importance of those entities to which we referred at the beginning, which belong spiritually to the physical substances of the solar system and which are interrelated with what we have within ourselves.

Just as the sensitive soul has been stimulated by the Martian beings, so the intellectual soul by the Mercury beings and the consciousness soul by the Jupiter beings. And at that time, when the sensitive soul, the intellectual soul and the consciousness soul were already stimulated, the impulse was given to bring Manas into flow. For this, too, a stimulus had first to be given. Once it was set in motion, man could, so to speak, take his development into his own hands. That was in the last third of the Atlantean period. The stimulators were the beings who were on Venus. So you can get an idea of the interaction of the various members of our planetary system. We must think of man as having brought with him his physical body, his etheric body and his astral body. Then three members develop: the sensory soul, the intellectual soul and the consciousness soul, and finally Manas. The consciousness soul has its power from Jupiter, the intellectual soul from Mercury, the sentient soul from Mars and the spirit self received its impulse from Venus. Thus, if you want to discover the forces that are in you, you must look up to the stars in question. Man is a complicated being; he has become so because the forces of the cosmos have flowed together in him.“ (Lit.:GA 98, p. 197f)

The Mercury beings have a double task; they not only have to develop the intellectual soul of man, but they are also the great teachers of the Initiates:

„You will remember from my "Theosophy" that it is only a rough division when we say that man consists of physical body, etheric body, astral body, I, spirit self, life spirit and spirit man. You know that the more correct division is this: physical body, etheric body, astral body, and that we then distinguish that in which the I is absorbed as the sensation soul, the mind soul and the consciousness soul, and that in it we first have the spirit self or Manas, then the life spirit or Buddhi, and finally the spirit man or Atman. The soul of the human being thus appears as the sentient soul, the intellect soul and the consciousness soul. If we follow the development of the human being on earth, we can also say that the sentient soul first develops in addition to the three components brought over from the moon, then the intellectual soul develops, and the consciousness soul basically only develops towards the end of the Atlantean period, when the human being first learned to say "I" to himself. Only then can man learn to work consciously from within on the members of his beingness. So if we divide the human being into body, soul and spirit, we have to divide the soul again into the soul of feeling, the soul of understanding and the soul of consciousness. These only develop gradually; the consciousness soul cannot yet have any influence, for it only comes into being last. So these limbs must again be kindled from outside. In this process beings are again active from outside, and it is in this way that Mars with its beings has an effect on the sentient soul. When the intellectual soul is to arise, Mercury is already split off and works with its entities on the arising of the intellectual soul, and Jupiter, which has long been present, works on the arising of the consciousness soul.

Thus in the soul of man you have the activity of the three world bodies: the activity of Mars in the sentient soul, of Mercury in the intellectual soul, of Jupiter in the consciousness soul; and as the spirit self is forced into the consciousness soul, Venus is active with its entities. For the first initiates Mercury is again active, so that the Mercury beings exercise a twofold activity: first, one which is quite unconscious to man, in that they develop his intellectual soul; then they are the first teachers of the initiates, whereby they work in a quite conscious way. The Mercury beings therefore always have a double activity, just as some country teachers have to teach the children and at the same time cultivate the field allotted to them. Thus the Mercury beings have to develop the intellectual soul and also to be the great school teachers of the great Initiates. You can also understand all these things purely logically.

Now you may ask why Jupiter in particular has an effect on the consciousness soul, since it is such a far backward planet. But these things are not investigated on logical grounds, but by investigating the facts of the spiritual worlds. There you would indeed see that the consciousness soul is kindled by the Jupiter beings, who are helped on the other side by Venusian beings who have remained behind. In the cosmic work it is so that things must not be taken externally-schematically, but one must be clear that once a planet has already fulfilled a task, its beings can later fulfil another task. During the humanity of the second human race, the Jupiter beings helped in the formation of the etheric body; then they went on a little further themselves, and when man was so far advanced that his consciousness soul could develop, they again had to intervene and help to develop his consciousness soul. Thus that which works in space works in the most manifold way into one another, and one cannot by any means pass schematically from one to the other.“ (Lit.:GA 102, p. 59ff)

Influence of the planets on our soul life during waking and sleeping

When falling asleep and waking up, Mars acts on the sentient soul. Jupiter acts on the intellectual soul and calls forth dreams. Saturn acts on the consciousness soul in deepest sleep and can also evoke automatic actions in sleep, such as talking or night-walking. It is also the Jupiter and Saturn forces that refresh the human being in sleep. When awake, Venus acts on the sentient soul, Mercury on the intellectual soul and the Moon on the consciousness soul. It is the same forces that "drives" the planets. The strength of their effect depends on their spatial distance.

„That force which acts on the sentient soul when it falls asleep and wakes up was given a name which in ancient languages would correspond to the word Mars. Mars is nothing other than a name for that power which acts upon the sentient soul, which in the evening drives man out of his bodily shells and in the morning sends him in again. That power which acts on the intellectual or emotional soul after falling asleep and before waking up is that power which drives the world of dreams into the intellectual or emotional soul - this power has the name which would correspond with the word Jupiter. And that force which in special circumstances would make man a night-walker, which therefore acts on man's consciousness soul during the state of sleep, bears the name Saturn in the sense of the old spiritual science. So that one is speaking in the sense of spiritual science when one would say that Mars has put man to sleep, that Jupiter has sent dreams into man's sleep, and that the dark sinister Saturn is the cause which rouses man, who cannot resist its influence, in his sleep and drives him to unconscious actions. With these names, therefore, you must not think of what they mean in the sense of ordinary astronomy. For the time being we shall take their original meanings, which designate forces of a thoroughly spiritual nature and which act upon man when he is outside his physical body and his etheric or life body in the spiritual world while he is asleep.

Now, when the human being wakes up in the morning - I have drawn a point to this waking up for the reason that with waking up the human being indeed enters into a completely different world - what happens when the human being wakes up? He is transported into a world which today's normal human being alone regards as his own, in which he is confronted with impressions on his senses from outside. These impressions on his senses are caused in such a way that he cannot look behind the sensual impressions. They are simply there, they come before his soul when he wakes up in the morning. When man wakes up, the whole carpet of the sensory world is spread out before him. But there is something else for the human being, namely that he not only perceives this outer world with his senses, but that when he perceives this or that of this outer world, he always feels something. Even if the joyful sensation at the perception of some colour is still so slight, there is an inner mental process, a certain sensation. For everyone will be aware that the violet colour affects him differently from the red, and the blue differently from the green. All outer sensations have such an effect that they call forth inner states. All the sensations thus produced by the outer sensations belong to the sentient soul, while we call the cause in man why he can receive the sensations the sentient body. The sentient body causes man to see yellow or red. It is the sentient soul that causes him to feel this or that about this yellow or red. We must make a very clear distinction: That which is conjured up before our soul from outside is caused by the sentient body; that which we experience inwardly, pleasure and suffering or some nuance of the impression which the colour makes on us, belongs to the sentient soul. In the morning the sentient soul begins to be given over to the impressions of the sentient body, we could also say to the impressions of the outer world, which it receives through the powers of the sentient body. The same, then, that was exposed to the influence of Mars during the night while asleep, the sentient soul, is exposed to the impressions of the outer world when it awakes in the morning, it is given over to the sensuous world. Now, in the sense of spiritual science, we call the entire sensory world, in so far as it evokes in our soul certain sensations of pleasure and suffering, joy and pain, again by a special name, the name Venus. Again, I would ask you to think of it as nothing other than that which has just been characterised, that is, that which exerts an influence on our sensitive soul out of the outer carpet of the sense-world, which does not leave us indifferent and cold, but fills us with certain sensations. This influence on our sentient soul, which asserts itself from the morning, is called the power of Venus. So that, just as we have called the influence on the sentient soul after falling asleep Mars, we call this influence after waking Venus power.

In the same way, however, an influence is exerted from the physical world on our intellect or soul of mind while it is submerged in the bodily sheaths during the day; this is the influence through which we can withdraw from the outer impressions of the sense world and process them. Notice that there is a difference between the experience in the sentient soul and the experience in the intellectual or mental soul; the sentient soul experiences something only as long as the human being is devoted to the outer world; it feels the impressions of the outer world. If, however, the human being does not pay attention to the impressions of the outer world for a while during day-waking, but lets the outer impressions reverberate and processes them in his soul, then the human being is devoted to his intellect soul. This is therefore somewhat more independent than the soul of feeling. Now those influences which make it possible for man, during his daily life, not only to stand there, so to speak, with his eyes open and gazing at the outer carpet of senses, but to be able to turn his attention away from all this and to form thoughts by which he can combine the impressions of the outer world and make himself independent in relation to the outer world, these influences we call the power of Mercury. So that we can therefore say: As during the night the influences of Jupiter assert themselves upon our mind or soul, so during the day the influences of Mercury assert themselves upon our mind or soul. - Notice that there is a certain correspondence between the influences of Jupiter and Mercury. The influences of Jupiter are such with the present-day normal man that they force their way into his soul-life as dream-images; the corresponding influences during the day, the Mercury influences, act as his thoughts, as his inner experiences. But with the Jupiter influences in the dream, man does not know where things actually come from, but during the day-consciousness, with the Mercury influences, he knows. There are also inner processes that take place in the soul as inner images. That is the correspondence between the influences of Jupiter and Mercury.

Now there are also such influences that act on the consciousness soul during the day. What is the difference between the sentient soul and the intellect soul or the mind soul and the consciousness soul? Well, the sentient soul asserts itself when we simply stare at the things of the outside world. If we withdraw for a while from the impressions of the outer world, if we do not pay attention to them and if we process them, then we are devoted to our mind soul. If we now take what we have processed and again turn to the outer world and relate to it by going over to action, then we are devoted to our consciousness soul. If, for example, the bouquet of flowers is before your eyes: as long as you merely look at it and the white of the rose triggers feelings in you, you are devoted to your sentient soul. But when I turn away my eyes and no longer see the bouquet of flowers, but think about it, then I am devoted to my intellectual or mental soul; there I process the impressions I have received through combination. If, because I like the bouquet and have processed the impressions it has made on me, I now say to myself that I would like to make someone happy with it, if I then take it and go into action, then I go out of the mind or soul, then I pass over into the consciousness soul, there I again enter into relationship with the outer world. And that is a third power which asserts itself in the human being, which enables him not only to process within himself the impressions of the outer world, but also to enter into relationship with the outer world again.

Notice that again there is a relationship between the working of the consciousness soul in waking and the working of the consciousness soul in sleeping. We have said that when such an influence is present in the state of sleep, man passes over into night-walking, he speaks and acts in sleep. Only when he walks by night in sleep is he driven by the power of the dark Saturn; by day he is present with his I, he acts consciously. That which acts on the human consciousness soul during day-life, so that it can come out of ordinary life into independence, we call the power of the moon. Forget again what you have imagined under this word, you will understand why these things are just so, for the time being we want to keep these names as designations.

Thus we have traced the human soul-life through the sleeping and waking states. We have found that it is divided into three separate parts, that it is subject to three different influences. When, during the night, man is devoted to that world which we must call the spiritual world, then he is devoted to the forces which in spiritual science are called the forces of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. When, during the day awakening, he unfolds his soul-life through the sentient soul, through the intellectual- or mind-soul and through the consciousness soul, then he is devoted to those forces which in spiritual science are called Venus-, Mercury- and Moon-forces.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 70ff)

Drawnig from GA 119, p. 75
Drawnig from GA 119, p. 75


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