The Foundations of Esotericism
Berlin, 27th October 1905
When we consider the successive Planetary evolutions we find that each one is a stage of a particular condition of evolution, which has 7 Rounds, 7 x 7 Globes and 7 x 7 x 7 Races. The purpose of every such Planetary evolution is to lead one condition of consciousness through all its stages. In the different esoteric religions these stages are named in various ways. In Christian esotericism
a condition of Consciousness is called Power
a Round is called Kingdom, Wisdom
a Globe is called Splendour, Glory
When in Christian esotericism we speak of Power we mean ‘going through a condition of consciousness’. Going through a Round is going through a Kingdom. In the successive rounds man experiences seven Kingdoms:
- First Elemental Kingdom
- Second Elemental Kingdom
- Third Elemental Kingdom
- Mineral Kingdom
- Plant Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Human Kingdom
Going through the seven conditions of Form or Globes is called Glory. Glory signifies what has external appearance, what takes on shape and form. The Lord's Prayer gives us in its final words: ‘For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory,’ a gazing upwards to Cosmic events. When once again this will be present in consciousness, a knowledge of God will be possible.
Today all religions, exoteric religions in particular, have fallen away from the true knowledge of God. They are the bearers of egoism for they are not conceived in connection with the whole world, with the Power, the Kingdom and the Glory. When these words regain their meaning through living consciousness, then once more religions will be what they ought to be.
The Saturn condition was there in order to develop in man a deep trance consciousness; this he hardly knows today. He only knows dreamless sleep like the plant and the dream filled sleep such as existed on the Moon — a picture consciousness. Man no longer knows deep trance consciousness for the following reason: When someone sleeps, only the astral body frees itself and the physical body and the etheric body remain lying in the bed. If in sleep he were able to take the etheric body with him as the Chela can, then the physical body alone would remain behind; a dull consciousness. In the case of mediums this comes about in an abnormal manner and quite remarkable things are brought to light in this way. Such people then can draw remarkable cosmic pictures. For example, a girl was put into a trance by a glassful of port wine and in this condition drew remarkable pictures, in which one could see caricatures of our cosmic system; she also found approximations of our names for them.
Mediums have their visions because they are able to take the etheric body also out of the sleeping physical body and in the sleeping physical body to perceive consciously. They are then still able to make use of the physical body; the physical body becomes clairvoyant in a remarkable way. The Chela achieves this consciously, whereas the medium does so unconsciously. It is through such a clairvoyant consciousness that the planetary systems have been discovered. All the conditions into which the Chelas and Adepts are able to transpose themselves are nothing other than consciousness through the physical body; they experience all this in full consciousness.
On the future Venus a complete consciousness in the etheric body will develop. Then, while man sleeps, he will gain a consciousness concerning the other side of the world. On Vulcan the spirit is completely detached; he has then taken the etheric body also with him. This condition endows man with an exact knowledge of the entire world.
- On Saturn — Trance consciousness, universal consciousness
- On Sun — Dreamless sleep, consciousness limited to what is living
- On Moon — Picture consciousness
- On Earth — Waking consciousness
- On Jupiter — Astral consciousness, further extended
- On Venus — Etheric consciousness, still further extended
- On Vulcan — Universal consciousness
Each one of such conditions of consciousness must go through all the Kingdoms, through seven Rounds or Kingdoms, in each Round gaining in complexity as it passes through the seven Globes. The lesser forces become further developed in the so-called Races. Thus gradually creation exteriorises from within outwards what was present as inner potential.
Today it is the mineral kingdom that man knows best because he lives in it. Everything that takes place in the higher kingdoms is not understood by the intellect. This has been a necessary phase of evolution. Now however one can no longer be satisfied with mere science. Everything is understood to be in a continuous evolution.
If we consider in the mineral kingdom any kind of stone — what we see there is a space with definite boundaries, a definite form. Of the mineral kingdom as such we see absolutely nothing, but we see only the reflected light. The rays of the sun are reflected in a certain form. If we strike a bell we hear a sound: an effect of a bell goes into our ear. All that we perceive in the world as mineral kingdom is a whole compressed together to a spatial form. If one takes away the colour of an object, the sound, the taste, nothing remains. It is due to the mineral kingdom that light and sound appear through such forms. Let us think of a world in which only the qualities of perception stream through space and are not perceived in connection with definite forms. Let us think of coloured clouds floating through the world, sounds resounding through the world, all our sense impressions filling space without being bound to a form; then we have the Third Elemental Kingdom. These are the elements light and fire, permeating space. Man himself in the Astral Kingdom is a coloured cloud.
We will now take a further step forward. When we see a thought form, it is such a coloured cloud, a movement vibrating in itself. If one wishes to conjure up a thought, one must draw the figure in question into astral space. On this depends the conjurings of magicians. They draw the forms into space and then surround them with astral substance. They direct astral substance along these figures. The Third Elemental Kingdom is not arbitrary, but a flying hither and thither in interpenetrating lines: everything expressing beautiful forms having the power of light within themselves. They are like bodies of light flying hither and thither in space, shining from within.
The tones that resound through space are ordered according to numbers. What one must specially bear in mind is that from the outset things stand in a definite relationship to one another. One figure could work upon another in such a way that it did no harm, or so that it was utterly destroyed. This was called the measure of things. Everything was ordered according to measure, number, form. It is possible to think away the qualities induced by the senses and the world filled with such thought-figures. This would then be the Second Elementary Kingdom which underlies the Third. Here we only have forms woven by thoughts, the World-Ether-Thoughts.
The first Elementary Kingdom is difficult to describe. Let us assume for example that we conceive the thought of such a figure as a spiral, then the thought of a lemniscate. We now transfer ourselves into the intention before the form has actually arisen, thus first into the intention of a spiral and then into the intention of a lemniscate. One imagines a world filled with such thought-seeds. This formless world is the First Elementary Kingdom.
The Fourth Elementary Kingdom is the mineral kingdom which reflects what it receives from outside. The plant kingdom not only reflects sense-qualities, but these reflections are inwardly endowed with life. The Second Elementary Kingdom is the formative element of the Third Elementary Kingdom. The mineral kingdom is condensed out of qualities belonging to the Third Elementary Kingdom. The plant reflects the form of the Second Elementary Kingdom and thus develops the form out of itself. The animal kingdom also reflects the intentions which lie in the First Elementary Kingdom.
In the First Round man was in the First Elementary Kingdom. When at that time he became physical, he was in the first Round and in the First Elementary Kingdom at the stage of physical form. In the physical condition of the First Elementary Kingdom of the First Round, the thought-seeds became physical. At that time the Earth consisted only of physical globules, so small that one would not have been able to see them; they were simply points of force. These points of force gradually condensed; they were not yet differentiated. At that time the condensed Elementary Kingdom was already physical. When one imagines the human being as merely a being of thought, then one can easily go through such a being even though one does not see it, but even though one cannot see it, one cannot go through it when it has become physical. Later the physical points of force once more became astral and passed over to the following Round.
In the Second Round the Earth consisted only of forms. The Earth was a very beautifully formed sphere in which all the things that developed out of it were present as types. It was the prophetic shaping of everything that emerges in the other Kingdoms. On the Earth the colours and forms were prototypes of present-day man. On the next Planet the colours and forms will be prototypes of what man will then be.
In the Fifth Round, the plastic-astral man will no longer need to retain his hand. The hand will only be formed when it is needed. It will be something like a tendril, because then everything will have taken on the nature of a plant. Then too all that develops separate existence will be a plant-product. Likewise everything that proceeds from man will be plantlike. We shall then be living in the plant kingdom.
In the Sixth Round we shall live in the animal kingdom. Then everything that proceeds from man, which streams out from him, will be a living product that has within it life and sensation. A word will then be a living being — a bird that one sends out into the world.
In the Seventh Round man will create himself. He will then be able to duplicate, to reproduce himself. In the Seventh Round everyone will have reached the stage at which our Masters stand today. Then our ego will be the bearer of all earthly experiences. To begin with this will be concentrated in the Lodge of the Masters. 67See Note 31. The higher ego then will draw itself together, become atomic and form the atoms of (future) Jupiter.
The White Lodge will be looked upon as a unity, an ego comprising everything. All human egos and all separateness will be given up and will flow together into the all-comprehensive universal consciousness; great circles, expanded from within, each having a special colour, all assembled together in one single circle. When one thinks of them as laid one upon the other the result is an all-inclusive colour. All the egos are within it, making a whole. This immense globe, contracted, constitutes the atom. This multiplies itself, creating itself out of itself. These then are the atoms which will form Jupiter. 68A few days before, on 21.10.1905 Rudolf Steiner spoke on this subject but only very scanty notes exist. The Moon Adepts formed the atoms of the present-day Earth. One can study the atom when one studies the plan of the Adepts Lodge on the Moon.
Each kingdom must go through seven Forms:
- Arupa — Approach to Form
- Rupa — Form
- Astral — Shimmering and shining from within outwards.
- Physical — impenetrable in space
- Plastic-astral — forming itself out of itself