Adam Kadmon

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Adam Kadmon, the cosmic primordial man, is sometimes depicted in androgynous form with both male and female sexual characteristics

Adam Kadmon (also Adam Qadmon, Aramaic: אדם קדמון "original man, cosmic man"; Greekοὐράνιος ἄνθρωπος uranios anthropos "heavenly man") is understood as the archetype of man according to the statements in the Kabbalah and Haggadah. Its image is the earthly man. The earthly man, however, lost the three wisdoms that place Adam Kadmon at the side of God, namely wisdom, glory and immortality. According to the teachings of the Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon was created even before the actual creation from the pure divine light that emerged directly from the Ain Soph. Adam Kadmon is comparable to the giant Ymir of Norse mythology, the Pangu of Chinese mythology, the Gayomart of Persian mythology or the Purusha of the Indian Vedas.

Adam Kadmon as Macrocosmic Man

Jean Limburg: The Anatomical Man with the Assignment of the Signs of the Zodiac, from the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry (Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry , 15th century.

The original Adam, as created by the Elohim as a faithful image of their common being, was the astral macrocosmic man who encompassed the whole cosmos. The cosmic man (οὐράνιος ἄνθρωπος) is first mentioned in this sense in Philo of Alexandria.[1]

„In former times the zodiac was not drawn in such a way that it was separated into its corresponding animal forms, but in such a way that the individual human parts were added to the regions concerned: to Aries the head; further, that which is the region of the larynx, to Taurus; that which most significantly expresses symmetry, the two arms, to Gemini; the breastplate to Cancer; the heart to Leo; and so one has gone on until one has drawn the lower parts of the legs to Aquarius, the feet to the fishes. So if you think of such a zodiac as a human being drawn into the cosmos, then you have that which created the original predispositions to the human physical body out of the cosmos, that is, out of the corresponding forces of the hierarchies of the Thrones, Seraphim, Cherubim. This is the great cosmic human being, the human being who passes through all the world legends and world myths, out of whom the individual human being on earth is formed in the most manifold forms. Think of the giant Ymir, who is spread out in the great cosmos, for the microcosmic man is formed out of the giant. You have him everywhere, the great macrocosmic man, who is the Creator, who contains on the outside that which man contains on the inside. For there is a profound truth underlying such representations, a truth that emerges more or less broken according to the clairvoyant faculty of the peoples. And it also shines to you through that wisdom which found its outer expression in the Old Testament. It shines forth in the wisdom which, as an ancient Hebrew secret doctrine, goes back to that secret doctrine which underlies the Old Testament: in the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah. The macrocosmic man is no other than the man we have now drawn into the cosmos.“ (Lit.:GA 110, p. 145f)

Adam Kadmon as an Earthman

The earthman whom Yahweh formed from the "moist field earth" (Hebrewאֲדָמָה adamah) and whose creation is described in the Bible's second creation story (Genesis 2:7), was not the physical being we now call a human being, but he spanned the entire earth sphere, which at that time still included the lunar sphere, since the Moon had not yet separated from the Earth at that time.

„Later people mostly learned from the misunderstood Hebrew document, from the misunderstood Old Testament, and they imagined, didn't they, that there was the earth and paradise somewhere, and that the finished Adam was standing there in paradise as such a little squirt. This idea that people made up from the misunderstood Old Testament is about the same as if someone were to imagine it today: Man does not come from the little thing that is there from the allantoic and amniotic pockets, from this skin and so on - man would not come from that, but all that, that would be a thing in itself; but in the maternal body, there just sits a tiny flea, and from this little flea comes man. It is more or less like that when one imagines: The earth was there, Adam and Eve lived on it like fleas, and afterwards the human race. This is the result of a misunderstanding of the Old Testament, in which those who knew something in ancient times did not speak of Adam, but of Adam Kadmon. And Adam Kadmon is something different from Adam. He is this giant head that the earth once was. And that is a natural conception. This Adam Kadmon only became an earth flea when people could no longer imagine that a human head could grow as large as the earth, when they no longer believed in it, and then they formed the abnormal idea, as if it were there for fun, that the whole nine months go on in the maternal body, and from this maternal sphere the human being is born.

In reality we must imagine that man was once the whole earth - the whole earth.“ (Lit.:GA 347, p. 180f)


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. Philo: De Allegoriis Legum, I. xii.