Chaldean series

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Chaldean series

The Chaldean series, which was handed down in Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, but which originated with the Chaldeans or Babylonians[1] and still determines the order of our weekdays today, is based on the following arrangement of the planets:

Saturn (Saturday) - Sun (Sunday) - Moon (Monday) - Mars (Tuesday) - Mercury (Wednesday) - Jupiter (Thursday) - Venus (Friday).

This order also corresponds to the seven stages of world evolution that our planetary system passes through in the course of its development. The names of the planets, however, do not refer directly to our present planetary system, but to the so-called occult planets of the same name, which are earlier or future embodiments of our Earth. Our present state on Earth is represented by Mars and Mercury together, since according to Rudolf Steiner's findings the Earth's development is divided into a Mars half and a subsequent Mercury half:

Old Saturn - Old Sun - Old Moon - Mars - Mercury - New Jupiter - New Venus Vulcan

The last evolutionary stage of our planetary system, the future Vulcan, which still lies in the distant future, is not explicitly enumerated in this sequence, but results implicitly as a higher metamorphosis of the Old Saturnian state.

The Chaldean series can be derived by assigning the classical seven planets, beginning with Saturn, to the points of a seven-pointed star in a clockwise direction according to decreasing sidereal orbital period, and then following the lines forming the seven-pointed star, starting from Saturn, as shown in the adjacent drawing at the top right.

The sidereal orbital periods of the planets are:

Read in ascending order from the Moon to Saturn, this arrangement corresponds exactly to the so-called occult order of the planets, in which Mercury and Venus are interchanged with each other compared to the usual heliocentric order.

„So you have as the different stages of our planet: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, because from this came the strong influence, then Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. This is then expressed in the succession of the days of the week. The initiates have expressed the succession of earth incarnations in the names of the days of the week. You must begin with Saturday, which was Saturn's day. It is still called Saturday in English, and Zaterdag in Dutch. Then comes Sunday, Monday, Mars Day, French mardi; in ancient Germanic Ziu was the god of war, hence "Zius Day", English Tuesday. Wednesday is a more exoteric name, it was called Mercury's Day by the ancients, mercredi in French, Wodan's Day in Germanic - because Wodan is a Mercury being - Woensdag in Dutch, Wednesday in English. Then we have Jupiter's Day, jeudi in French. The Germans' Jupiter is Donar, the thunderer, so Thursday. Then Venus Day, French vendredi, German Freyatag. And then it begins all over again, because Vulcan is a new stage of Saturn.“ (Lit.:GA 96, p. 244)

Rudolf Steiner reported on this in great detail in an enclosure to a letter to Marie von Sivers dated 25 November 1905:

„In the order of the days of the week the evolution of our planetary system is expressed. One only has to be quite clear that esoterically the Earth is to be replaced by the two planets Mars and Mercury. The first half of the Earth's evolution, from the beginning to the middle of the Atlantean age (1st, 2nd, 3rd and half of the 4th race) is esoterically related to Mars, the second half (half of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th races) to Mercury. When the beings who had developed on the Moon emerged from the Praiaya darkness (1st round of the Earth), the following had been developed by man in the system: 1. the physical body (from Saturn). 2. the etheric double body (from the Sun). 3. the sentient body (from the moon). After all that was predisposed from the moon, the sentient soul could now develop - without external influence - in the first half of the earth (1st, 2nd, 3rd round), which itself merges with the sentient body. Man was thus predisposed, by virtue of the tendency lying in the straight line of evolution, to solidify as a being which would have been built up according to the following scheme:

Drawing from GA 89, p. 73
Drawing from GA 89, p. 73

If man was to develop further, he needed a new impact. Forces had to be planted on the Earth during the first half of its evolution which were not yet present on the three preceding world bodies. The leading beings of the Earth's evolution took such forces from Mars during the first half of this evolution; they take them from Mercury during the second. Through the Martian forces the sentient soul (astral body) experiences a refreshment. It becomes what in my "Theosophy" is called the mind-soul. Through the forces brought by Mercury, this intellectual soul is refreshed in such a way that it does not stop at its own stage of evolution, but opens up to the consciousness soul. And within the consciousness soul the "spirit self" (Manas) is born. On Jupiter this will be the dominating principle of man. In the same way it will be with the life spirit (Budhi) on Venus and with Atma on Vulcan. If we thus parallel the members of the human being with the planets and their forces, in so far as the latter have a share in the formation of these members, we obtain the following scheme.

Drawing from GA 89, p. 74
Drawing from GA 89, p. 74

Man was not on Mars, but his intellectual soul stands in such an esoteric relation to this planet that its powers are drawn down from it. Spatially, one has to imagine it in such a way that the Earth, before it itself became ethereal (i.e. physical) in its fourth round, passed through Mars - which was ethereal at that time. Schematically, one has to imagine it like this:

Drawing from GA 89, p. 75
Drawing from GA 89, p. 75

This passage lasted even into the physical Earth time; and while it was taking place, the guiding beings took from Mars the kamamatter necessary for the mind soul, and as this has its physical vehicle in the warm blood (in the Ares blood of the fighting man), the iron of the Earth, which is a constituent of the blood, was inserted at that time. -

Neither will man ever really inhabit Mercury, but since the middle of the Atlantean world he has been in contact with the Kamamatter (actually Kama-Manas-Matter) of Mercury, and from it the guiding beings have endowed the human consciousness soul with powers. Mercury came to earth as a physical vehicle through this influence of Mercury. After the development of the Earth into a plastic state, the Earth will pass spatially through Mercury. The earth itself will then be astral, but Mercury will be ethereal. - Schematically it is like this:

Drawing from GA 89, p. 76
Drawing from GA 89, p. 76

This whole evolutionary trajectory of the earth has now been laid down by the initiates in the order of the days of the week:

1. Saturday = Saturn's day
2. Sunday
3. Monday
4. Mars day - mardi = diustag (diu is the German Ares, Mars or God of war)
5. Mercury Day = mercredi = Wotan's Day (Wotan is the German Mercury; see Tacitus Germania)
6. Jupiter's day = jeudi = Donar's day (donar is the German Jupiter)
7. Venus day - vendredi = Freja day (freja is the German Venus)
8. Vulcan day is not formed, because repetition, like octave Repetition is the prim.

“ (Lit.:GA 89, p. 73ff)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
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.


  1. cf. Johann Jakob Herzog, p. 256 google