Soul body

From AnthroWiki

The soul body, also called the sentient body, is the third bodily member of the human being alongside the etheric body and the physical body.

„The body is thus built up out of mineral substances, animated by the etheric body, and it itself limits the sentient soul. He who has the above-mentioned organ for "seeing" the sentient soul recognises it as limited by the body. - But the boundary of the sentient soul does not coincide with that of the physical body. This soul projects beyond the physical body. One sees from this that it proves to be more powerful than it is. But the power that sets its limits emanates from the physical body. Thus, between the physical body and the etheric body on the one hand and the sentient soul on the other, there is another special member of the human being. It is the soul body or the sentient body. One can also say that one part of the etheric body is finer than the rest, and this finer part of the etheric body forms a unity with the sensitive soul, while the coarser part forms a kind of unity with the physical body. But, as I have said, the sentient soul projects beyond the soul body.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 42f)

„But the physical body has a third component. I have called this the soul body. You can get an idea of this if you think that not every body that lives can also feel. I cannot enter into the argument as to whether the plant can also feel, that is another matter. You must consider what in a rough sense is called sentience. What distinguishes the plant from the animal in this way, let us note. Just as the plant is distinguished from the stone by the etheric double body, so the body of the animal as a sentient body is again different from the mere plant body. And that which in the animal body also projects beyond mere growth and reproduction, that which makes sensation possible, we call the soul body. In the physical body, in the etheric body and thirdly in the soul body, the bearer of the life of feeling, we have only the outer side of man and animal. Thus we have observed that which lives in space.

Now comes that which lives within, that which we call the sentient self. The eye has a sensation and leads it to where the soul can perceive the sensation. Here we gain the transition from the body into the soul, when we ascend from the soul body into the soul, into the lowest member of the soul, which is called the feeling soul. The animal also has a sentient soul, for it converts into inner life, into soul life, into sensations, that which the body prepares for it for sensation, that which the soul prepares for it. In the perception of the soul, however, one cannot perceive the soul body and the sentient soul separately. They are, so to speak, intertwined and form a whole. Roughly speaking, one can compare what forms a whole here - the soul body as an outer shell and the sentient soul stuck in it - with the sword stuck in the scabbard. This forms a whole for the soul view and is called Kamarupa or astral body by theosophy. The highest member of the physical body and the lowest member of the soul form one whole and are called the astral body in theosophical literature.“ (Lit.:GA 53, p. 55f)

The astral body as the connection between the soul body and the sentient soul

See also: Astral body

In its connection with the sentient soul, through which a more or less conscious inner world of the soul is already forming, the soul body is also called the astral body by Rudolf Steiner.

„The term astral body is used here to describe what the soul body and the sensory soul are together. The expression is found in older literature and is here freely applied to that in the human being which lies beyond the sensually perceptible. In spite of the fact that the sensory soul is in a certain sense also penetrated by the ego, it is so closely connected with the soul body that a single expression is justified for both when thought of as one. When the I interpenetrates with the spirit-self, this spirit-self appears in such a way that the astral body is reworked from the soul. In the astral body man's instincts, desires, passions, in so far as these are felt, first work; and sensual perceptions work in him. The sensual perceptions arise through the soul-body as a member in man, which comes to him from the outer world. The urges, desires, passions and so on arise in the sensory soul, insofar as this is penetrated by the inner being before this inner being has given itself to the spiritual self. When the 'I' penetrates itself with the spirit-self, the soul again penetrates the astral body with this spirit-self. This is expressed in such a way that the urges, desires and passions are then illuminated by what the I has received from the spirit. By virtue of its share in the spiritual world, the ego has then become master in the world of urges, desires and so on. To the extent that it has become so, the spirit self appears in the astral body. And the astral body itself is thereby transformed. The astral body itself then appears as a two-tiered entity, as partly untransformed, partly transformed. Hence the Spirit Self in its revelation in man can be called the transformed astral body.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 58ff)


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.