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Zarathustra (Avestan: Zaraθuštra; GreekΖωροάστηρ Zoroaster "gold star", "star of splendour"[1]; Middle Persian: Zerdusht; Persian: زَردُشت Zardošt / زَرتُشت Zartošt, Pashto زردښت Zardaxt, Kurdish: Zerdeşt) was the legendary initiator of the ancient Persian culture, whose peoples belonged to the northern emigration stream from ancient Atlantis. In contrast to the ancient Indian peoples, who sought their spiritual insights through mystical immersion, the willful magician Zarathustra showed the way to penetrate through the outer veil of sense (maya) to the spiritual world. It is disputed when he lived. In fact, according to Rudolf Steiner, he had seven incarnations in the pre-Christian cultural epochs (Lit.:GA 264, p. 362). At the turn of time he was reborn as the Solomon Jesus. Since the Mystery of Golgotha, he has incarnated again and again as the Master Jesus.

„Zarathustra taught to spiritually comprehend and spiritually penetrate the God outside, the great cosmos. Buddha directed the gaze to inwardness and said: When man develops, the "six organs", which we have enumerated as the five sense organs and the manas, gradually emerge from the non-knowledge. - But everything that is in man is born out of the great world. We would not have a light-sensing eye if the light had not born the eye out of the organism. "The eye is created in the light for the light," says Goethe. That is a profound truth. From indifferent organs that were once in the human body, the light has formed the eye. In the same way, all spiritual forces in the world form in man. What is inward in him is first organised out of the divine-spiritual forces. For all that is inward there is therefore an outward thing. The forces that are then in man flow into him from outside. And Zarathustra had the task of pointing out what is external, what is in the environment of man. That is why he spoke, for example, of the Amshaspands, of the great genii, of which he first listed six - actually there are twelve, but the other six are hidden. These Amshaspands have an organising effect from outside as the formers and shapers of the organs of man. Zarathustra showed how behind the sense organs of man are the creators of man. Zarathustra pointed to the great genii, to the forces that we find outside ourselves. Buddha pointed out what works as forces in man, what are the hidden forces in man. Zarathustra, however, then pointed to those forces and beings that are under the Amshaspands, which he called the twenty-eight Izards or Izeds, and which again work from outside into the human being in order to work on his inner organisation. So again Zarathustra pointed to the spiritual in the cosmos, to the outer connections. And while the Buddha pointed to the actual substance of thought, from which thoughts rise out of the human soul, Zarathustra pointed to the Farohars or Feruers or Frawarschai, to the world-creating thoughts that surround us, which are scattered everywhere in the world. For what man has in thoughts is present everywhere in the world outside.

Thus Zarathustra had a world-view to proclaim, which had to deal with the deciphering, with the dissection of the outer world. He had to deliver a world-view for a people who had to lay hands on the outside, who had to work the outside world. Zarathustra's mission is completely in harmony with the characteristics of the Urpersian people. Thus we could also say that Zarathustra was destined to develop strength and efficiency in the outer world, even if this was initially expressed in a way that is perhaps repulsive to people today. The mission of Zarathustra was to produce strength and efficiency and security for the outer work through the knowledge that man is not only secure in his inner being, but that he rests in the bosom of a divine-spiritual world - to point out that man says to himself: Wherever you stand in the universe, you do not stand alone, you stand in a spiritualised cosmos and are a part of the world-gods and world-spirits, you are born out of the spirit and rest in it. With every breath you draw in divine spirit, with every breath you may make an offering to the great spirit by breathing out. - Therefore the initiation of Zarathustra had to be different from that of the other great missionaries of humanity, according to his mission.“ (Lit.:GA 114, p. 99ff)

According to Rudolf Steiner, Zarathustra's first appearance in the post-Atlantean period dates back to the 7th millennium B.C., i.e. before the actual Persian period, which only began in 5067 B.C. According to some Greek and Roman writers, Zarathustra lived 6000 years before Plato's death (347 BC) (Eudoxus, Aristotle, Hermodorus, Pliny the Elder). Others, such as Diogenes Laertius, however, spoke of 6000 years before the second campaign of Xerxes in 480 BC,[2] or also, such as Plutarch, of 5000 years before the Trojan War. External historical research does not currently subscribe to this view and places his work in much later times. In fact, according to Rudolf Steiner, there were seven incarnations of Zoroaster in which he received the teachings of the seven holy rishis, and only the last of these incarnations, or the one that followed, in which he was born blind and deaf, is attested to by historical sources.

„Seven Zarathustras there have been. That Zarathustra who is usually called is the seventh. He is the incarnation of all the earlier Zarathustras. What is preserved in the books of the Persian religion was recorded in much later times.“ (Lit.:GA 264, p. 362)

„Zarathustra, who in Persia saw the God of the Sun in the aura of the Sun, had to prepare himself in earlier embodiments in order to be able to see this God. He had already had high, sublime incarnation experiences in the time that was still filled with the teachings of the holy rishis. He was initiated into the teachings of the holy rishis. He had received them gradually in seven successive incarnations. Then he was born in a body that was blind and deaf and had as little relationship as possible with the outside world. Zarathustra had to be born as a human being who was virtually insensitive to external sensory impressions; and then the memory of the teachings of the holy Rishis, which he had once received, came to him from within. And just then the great Sun God was able to kindle something in him that went beyond the teaching of the Rishis. This arose again at the next incarnation, and it was there that Ahura Mazdao revealed himself to Zarathustra from without.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 138)

All Persian magicians were distinguished by the special way of bringing forth fire:

„In the first time-epochs there had been no fire. Our development owes everything intellectual, everything technical, to fire. Fire is that which leads down to the physical plane. We owe material culture to fire. The priests therefore had to see something special in fire. Therefore, in the second post-Atlantean cultural epoch, the Persian magicians saw in fire above all that which must work in the sacrament. What did the Persian priest ceremonially realise on his altar? Occultism knows that there have been seven Zoroasters. The Zoroaster of history is the seventh. The Persian magician had a special way of bringing forth fire. This process was the image of the great cosmic creation of fire. There stood the Persian magician with his thyrsus and did his ceremonies, which every occultist knows well, but only the occultist. This process was an image of the great cosmic creation of fire. When the priestly schools no longer understood how to produce fire with the thyrsus, they at least sought a natural fire. First they created fire through lightning, and then they propagated it through the so-called eternal fire, which could only ever be lit one after the other. The fire obtained by nature is said to be more effective than that which is artificially produced.“ (Lit.:GA 92, p. 36)

According to Pliny the Elder, Zarathustra was the only person who smiled on the day of his birth. Also, as an omen of his later wisdom, his brain is said to have pulsated so strongly that the hand was pushed back when placed on the head[3].

Zarathas (also Zarathos or Nazarathos), who according to Rudolf Steiner lived in the 6th century BC in the Near East, was probably the last re-embodiment of Zarathustra in pre-Christian times. This enabled him to become the greatest spiritual teacher of the initiates of the Greco-Latin culture. For example, he was the teacher of Pythagoras and some of the prophets of the Old Testament were also under his influence.

„Zarathustra could also become the greatest teacher of the fourth post-Atlantean cultural period. As Zarathas or Nazarathos, living in the Near East in the 6th century B.C., he was the teacher of the most important Greek teachers and initiates, as teacher for example of Pythagoras.“ (Lit.:GA 104a, p. 74)

Zarathustra gave a cosmic doctrine of light and darkness, of good and evil, which did not yet contain the concept of human guilt, which was only developed by the Hebrew people. From Zeruana Akarana, the uncreated time, outwardly represented by the zodiac, the two principles of light and darkness emerged: Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. The seven constellations from Aries to Libra represent the light principle, the five from Scorpio to Pisces the darkness. The zodiac is the cosmic sign for time returning cyclically into itself, and thus at the same time an image for eternity, from which the Christ, the I Am, descends into temporality. In this form, however, the Zodiac is also an external image for the human I, which is rooted in eternity, as it is similarly symbolised by the Ouroboros serpent biting its own tail.

Ahura Mazda, the powerful aura of the Sun, confronts the dark Ahriman as a luminous force who builds his fortress in the depths of the Earth. With the illuminated Ahura Mazda, Zarathustra referred to the Christ, but also speaks of him as the Word of Creation Honover, which emerged from the uncreated time and has since lived in the light body of the Sun. Zarathustra proclaimed that this Sun-Word would one day descend upon the Earth to illuminate it.

Zarathustra had already been initiated on ancient Atlantis by the great Sun Initiate and leader of the Atlantean Sun Oracle, and in the post-Atlantean period he was already so highly developed that he had a completely purified astral body and a completely enlightened etheric body. This enabled him to tame the animals and cultivate the plants. He set the Neolithic Revolution in motion and founded agriculture and animal husbandry and thus became the founder of external culture in general, for all culture began with agriculture.

When a high initiate like Zarathustra crosses the threshold of death, his purified etheric and astral members do not dissolve, as is normally the case after death, but remain intact in the sense of a spiritual economy. Zarathustra was therefore able to hand over his astral body and his etheric body to his two most outstanding disciples for their later incarnation in the Egyptian-Chaldean-Hebrew culture. Hermes Trismegistus, who was initiated into the mysteries of space, received the astral body of Zarathustra and became the inaugurator of Egyptian culture. Moses, who had learned the mysteries of time, was given the etheric body of Zarathustra and was thereby enabled to direct the spiritual gaze towards the history of creation.

Zarathustra made himself ready to be able to sacrifice the physical body in a later incarnation in order to be able to prepare with his pure I-power the earthly vessel for the Christ descending from cosmic spheres. At the turn of time he was reborn as the Solomon Jesus boy and lived in this body until he was 12 years old. Then he passed into the body of the Nathanian Jesus boy and thereby became free from all blood ties and lived from then on as Jesus of Nazareth. This created the conditions for him to be able to give this body to the Christ in his 30th year with the Jordan baptism. The birth story of the Solomon Jesus boy is told to us in the Gospel of Matthew. Zoroaster, the Greek transliteration of the name Zarathustra, means gold star. He was followed by the Three Wise Men from the Orient, who came from the Chaldean schools of wisdom and had been pupils of Zarathustra there, to offer him gold, frankincense and myrrh as symbols of thinking, feeling and willing when he was reborn as the Solomon Jesus.

After the I of Zarathustra had left the body of Jesus with the baptism in the Jordan, he later built a new physical body together with the preserved refined etheric body of the Nathanian Jesus boy and since then incarnates in this form again and again as Master Jesus on Earth and works as an inspirer of the Christian spiritual stream.


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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 (by Steiner Online Library).
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.


  1. cf. (Lit.:GA 114, p. 103)
  2. Diogenes Laertius writes :

    „The date of the Magians, beginning with Zoroaster the Persian, was 5000 years before the fall of Troy, as given by Hermodorus the Platonist in his work on mathematics; but Xanthus the Lydian reckons 6000 years from Zoroaster to the expedition of Xerxes, and after that event he places a long line of Magians in succession, bearing the names of Ostanas, Astrampsychos, Gobryas, and Pazatas, down to the conquest of Persia by Alexander.“

  3. Pliny writes:

    „We find it stated that Zoroaster was the only human being who ever laughed on the same day on which he was born. We hear, too, that his brain pulsated so strongly that it repelled the hand when laid upon it, a presage of his future wisdom.“