Star of Man

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Behind the stars again am I.
I myself am the world sphinx,
The vast universe only was a path
for my soul to itself.

Christian Morgenstern[1]

The star of man has great significance for life between death and new birth. A certain star, a fixed star, or more precisely a certain star region, is the spiritual home of the human being.

„Every human being has his star, which is decisive for what he works out between death and a new birth, and he comes from the direction of a certain star. - So that we can already take into our minds the idea: If we look at the whole human race that inhabits the earth, we find, if we look around here on earth and go through the continents, that these continents are populated by the people who are presently incarnated. The other people - where do we find them in the universe? Where do we have to look in the universe if we want to turn our soul's gaze towards them after they have spent a certain amount of time there after passing through the gate of death? We look in the right directions when we look towards the starry sky. These are the souls - at least these are the directions that let us find the souls - that are between death and a new birth. We survey the whole human race that inhabits the earth when we look up and down.

Only those who are on the way there or on the way hence are found in the planetary region. But we cannot speak of the midnight hour of existence between death and a new birth without thinking of a star which then, but taking into account what I have said about star beings, man inhabits between death and a new birth.“ (Lit.:GA 237, p. 46f)

The star of man is necessary to maintain the individual distinction of human beings in life between death and new birth. In earthly life, the physical body and etheric body ensure that the I and astral body do not merge with those of other human beings into a kind of soul-spiritual "primordial mush", as actually existed in early states of human evolution. The fact that this merging does not occur even during sleep, when the I and the astral body withdraw from the living body, is due to the strong desire that man has for the physical body during sleep. In the afterlife this possibility ceases; there people are individually separated from each other by the fact that each has his own "star". To be more precise, the star of a human being is a certain star region that may often overlap generously with that of other human beings, but is never completely identical with that of another human being. From a spiritual point of view, this connection can be represented in such a way that every human being belongs to a different set of Angeloi and Archangeloi, which are to be assigned to the respective star area, whereby several thousand such angels and archangels belong to every single human soul in the life after death.

„If we look at the human being spiritually in relation to his I and in relation to his actual soul life, which may also be called the astral body - in relation to the I I have often said that it is the youngest, the baby among the members of the human organisation, while the astral body is somewhat older, but only since the old lunar development - we must say in relation to these two highest members of the human being: They are not yet so far developed that man would have the power, if he only relied on them, to maintain himself independently in relation to other men. If we were here together, each of us only as an I and an astral body, and not also living in our etheric and physical bodies, we would all be together as in a kind of primordial pulp. Our beings would blur together; we would not be separated from each other, nor would we know how to distinguish ourselves from each other. There could be no question of anyone knowing what his hand or leg was, or what the hand and leg of the other were - things would then be quite different, and one could not easily compare the circumstances with one another. But not even his feelings could be properly recognised as his own. The fact that we as human beings feel ourselves to be separate stems from the fact that each one is torn out of the whole liquid mass, which we have to imagine for a certain earlier period of time, in the form of drops. But so that the individual souls do not run together again, we must think that each drop of soul has gone into it as into a piece of sponge, and thereby they are kept apart. This is what really happened. It is only because we as human beings are in physical bodies and etheric bodies that we are separated from each other, really separated. In sleep we are only separated from one another because we then have a strong desire for our physical body. This craving, which beats out ardently towards our physical body, separates us during sleep, otherwise we would swim all over each other during the night, and it would probably go very much against the grain of sensitive minds if they knew how strongly they are already connected with the essence of the beings around them. But this is not particularly serious in comparison with what would happen if this rutting relationship of desire to the physical body did not exist as long as the human being is embodied in the flesh.

Drawing from GA 181, p. 141
Drawing from GA 181, p. 141

Now we can raise the question: What separates our souls from each other in the time between death and new birth? Just as we belong with our I and our astral body between birth and death to a physical body and an etheric body, so after death, i.e. between death and a new birth, we belong with our I and our astral body to a quite definite star region, none to the same, each to a quite definite star region. Out of this instinct one speaks of the "star of man". You will understand: The star region - if you first take its physical projection - is peripherally spherical, and you can distribute this in the most manifold ways. The regions overlap, but each belongs to a different one. You can also say, if you want to express it in spiritual terms: everyone belongs to a different series of Archangeloi and Angeloi. Just as people come together here through their souls, so between death and a new birth everyone belongs to a special star region, a special series of Angeloi and Archangeloi, and they then come together here with their souls. Only it is so, but only apparently - but I do not want to go into this mystery any further now - that on earth everyone has his own physical body. I say: apparently - and you will be astonished; but it has been completely investigated, just as each has his own star-form, but how these overlap. Think of a certain group of Angeloi and Archangeloi. To one soul belong thousands of Archangeloi and Angeloi in the life between death and new birth. If you think of only one of these thousands being gone, this one can be exchanged, so to speak: then this is the territory of the next soul. In this drawing two souls, with the exception of the one star which they have from another region, have the same, but not two souls have their star-region absolutely alike. Thus men are individualised between death and new birth, each having his own special star-area. From this we can see what the separation of soul from soul is based on between death and the new birth. Here in the physical world the separation works as we know it through the physical body: man has, so to speak, his physical body as a cover, he looks at the world from it, and everything must come to this physical body. Everything that comes into the soul of man between death and a new birth stands in relation to the relationship between his astral body and his I in a similar way in connection with a star region, as here the soul and the I stand in connection with the physical body. So the question: How does the separation occur? - is answered in the way I have just indicated.“ (Lit.:GA 181, p. 139ff)

The star of man is also of particular importance for the earthly life span of man. After about 72 years, the Sun has fallen behind by 1° of the full zodiac, that is, by one day in the Platonic world year. Then man's star is no longer "quieted" by the Sun, and then it reclaims man.

„My dear friends, the sun rises and sets, the stars rise and set. We can follow how the sun, say, sets in the area where certain groups of stars are. We can follow that apparent, as we say today, course which the stars take in their orbit around the earth; we can follow the course of the sun. We say today that in the course of twenty-four hours it is the case that the sun circles the earth - apparently everything, of course - that the stars circle the earth. So we say, but that is not quite rightly spoken. If we watch the stars and the sun again and again, we find out that the sun does not always rise at the same time in relation to the stars, but always a little later; every day a little later it comes to the place where it was on the previous day in relation to the stars. And then these stretches of time, by which the sun always lags behind the stars, add up, become one hour, become two hours, become three hours and finally become one day. And the time approaches when we can say: the sun has lagged behind the star by one day.

And now let us assume that someone was born for my sake on the first of March of some year and lived until the end of his seventy-second year. He always celebrates his birthday on the first of March, because the sun says that this birthday is on the first of March. He can celebrate it in this way, because the sun shines throughout the seventy-two years, even if it moves further away in relation to the stars, but always in the neighbourhood of that star which shone when man arrived on earth.

But when man has lived seventy-two years, then a full day has passed, and he arrives in his old age at a place where the sun has left the star into which it had just entered when he began his life. And he arrives at his birthday beyond the first of March: the star no longer says the same thing that the sun says. The stars say it is the second of March, the sun says it is the first of March: man has lost a world-day, for it is just seventy-two years that the sun lags behind the star by one day. And during this time, while the Sun can be in the region of his star, man can live on earth. Then, under normal conditions, when the sun no longer reassures his star about his earthly existence, when the sun no longer says to his star: he is below, and I give you what this man has to give you, from me, while I now for the time being, covering you, do with him what you would otherwise do with him between death and a new birth, when the sun can no longer say this to the star, the star again reclaims the man.“ (Lit.:GA 237, p. 47f)


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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  1. Christian Morgenstern, from the drafts of "In Phanta's Schloß". Quoted from: Michael Bauer: Christian Morgenstern: Leben und Werk. Verlag Urachhaus 2014. ISBN 978-3825178932