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Let's return to the story of human evolution, as described by Rudolf Steiner. Having evolved through Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, we finally arrived at Present Earth. [To review these phases, see the corresponding sections of Steiner Static.] Life on Earth began with the Polarian Epoch followed by the Hyperborean Epoch. We then entered a pair of even more interesting epochs, when we lived on two continents that later sank. First came Lemuria, then Atlantis.
On Lemuria, we became more physical than ever before (although not as physical as we would become later on). Descending into physicality is the Anthroposophical vision of the Fall of Man — the "expulsion from paradise." This occurred during the Lemurian period, which means it was a bad time, obviously. But some of us fled to other planets, so that was okay.
Humans returning from other planets mated with humans who stayed on Earth, creating significant divergences in human nature: there were now “Mars men”, “Saturn men”, and so on. The development of separate races and sexes can be traced to this period, as can variations in karma. Women, playing the mythic role of Eve, contributed to our premature knowledge of good and evil. And then we blew up Lemuria.
As you can see, it was an action-packed period.
105) [Where It Was; Stunted Results] The people of Lemuria were the ancestors of the people of Atlantis, who were our own ancestors. The Lemurians passed through several stages of evolution while living on Lemuria, but eventually most of them were unable to decline further so they declined. “The ancestors of the Atlanteans lived in a region which has disappeared, the main part of which lay south of contemporary Asia ... [T]hey are called the Lemurians. After they had passed through various stages of development the greatest part of them declined. These became stunted men, whose descendants still inhabit certain parts of the earth today as so-called savage tribes. Only a small part of Lemurian humanity was capable of further development.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 3, "Our Atlantean Ancestors", GA 11.
106) [Psychic Power; Will Power, "Magic"] “[T]he Lemurian could communicate with his fellow-men without needing a language. This communication consisted in a kind of ‘thought reading.’ The Lemurian derived the strength of his ideas directly from the objects which surrounded him. It flowed to him from the energy of growth of plants, [and] from the life force of animals. In this manner he understood plants and animals in their inner action and life ... [T]he Lemurian built without engineering knowledge on the basis of his faculty of imagination which acted with the sureness of a kind of instinct ... [H]e could increase the strength of his arm by a simple effort of the will. For example, he could lift enormous loads merely by using his will ... He was — the expression should not be misinterpreted — a born magician in all fields of lower human activities." — Ibid., chapter 5, “The Lemurian Race”.
107) [Our Form; Noble Race; Pliant Nature] “Human nature could unfold more calmly and peacefully [in one part of Lemuria, largely free of volcanos] than in the other regions of the earth. The more nomadic life of former times was abandoned, and fixed settlements became more and more numerous. [paragraph break] [T]he human body still had very malleable and pliant qualities ... Only in the colony described did the body of man increasingly become an expression of his inner soul life. Moreover, this colony had an advanced, externally more nobly formed race of men ... [T]he leaders had really first created what is the true human form ... This physical human body in fact received a fairly unchanging form only with the development of the faculty of reason and with the hardening of the rock, mineral, and metal formations of earth ... For in the Lemurian and even in the Atlantean period, stones and metals were much softer than later.” — Ibid.
108) [Women; Good and Evil; Imagination] “It was from the manner of life of the women that the first ideas of ‘good and evil’ arose. There one began to love some of the things which had made a special impression on the imagination, and to abhor others. While the control which the male element exercised was directed more toward the external action of the powers of the will, toward the manipulation of the forces of nature, beside it in the female element there developed an action through the soul, through the inner, personal forces of man. The development of mankind can only be correctly understood by the one who takes into consideration that the first progress in the life of the imagination was made by women ... One must imagine this manner of the women to have been also a kind of clairvoyance, although it differed from the magic of the will of the men. In her soul woman was accessible to another kind of spiritual powers. The latter spoke more to the feeling element of the soul, less to the spiritual, to which man was subject [the mortal soul is lower than the immortal spirit, Steiner taught]. Thus there emanated from men an effect which was more natural-divine, from women one which was more soul-divine.” — Ibid.
Steiner identified the divine female principle — the feminine side of God, as it were — as Sophia, or Wisdom. [See "Goddess".] Wisdom, according to Steiner, is the Holy Ghost. Thus, the feminine aspect of God is the Spirit that delivers the Word to humanity. Steiner traced Sophia through ancient goddesses, such as Artemis, and he sought future embodiments. As the implicit power of spiritual wisdom within the human soul, Sophia/Eve/Artemis/Mary may be considered the mother of god, the human soul itself, which is creating the still-unfinished deity, the Godhead. [See, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, THE GODDESS: From Natura to the Divine Sophia (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001).] One form of knowledge developed by woman is the knowledge of evil, depicted in the Bible in the story of Eve and the Serpent. Beguiled by the Serpent — Lucifer — Eve desire the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus, in Steiner's teachings, woman is associated with the lures of Lucifer, which can enable human freedom (the power to choose between good and evil) but may also lead us to destruction (if we choose evil). [See, e.g., "Lucifer" and "Freedom".]
109) [Laws of Racial Development; Coming Advanced Races; Feminine Soul] During life in Lemuria, the next human root race was prepared. Root races are central, primary races from which sub-races develop — subcategories of humans standing at different levels of development: “This...took place under the influence of highly developed entities [i.e., humanity's spiritual guides], who were familiar with the laws of the formation of races ... [T]hey possessed superhuman wisdom and power. They now isolated a small group out of Lemurian mankind and designated these to be the ancestors of the coming Atlantean race ... [W]hen men left the colony [on Lemuria] in order to found the different Atlantean races, they could take with them a highly developed knowledge of the breeding of animals and plants ... The preeminence of the feminine soul, which has been described, was especially strong in the last Lemurian period and continued into the Atlantean times, during which the fourth subrace was preparing itself. But one must not imagine that this was the case among all of mankind. It was true, however, for that part of the population of earth from which the truly advanced races later emerged.” — COSMIC MEMORY, "The Lemurian Race".
110) [Lucifer; the Fall; the "Serpent"; Freedom] “Now something else also took place in the Lemurian epoch, something that we have always called the ‘luciferic influence’ [i.e., the influence or interference of Lucifer] ... [A]s a result of the luciferic influence man reached a certain point in evolution earlier than was intended [by the gods] ... We may say that as a result of the luciferic influence, man descended more deeply on to the earth in the Lemurian epoch ... It enabled him to become a free being, able to act in accordance with his own impulses ... This fact is expressed in a very profound way in the description of ‘the Fall’ which represents in a wonderful imaginative picture, what I have just stated ... [N]ow there came the luciferic influences, represented in the Bible as ‘the Serpent’ ... As you can well imagine, man would have been quite different if this descent into matter had not taken place till [the Atlantis period, as the gods intended]; his soul would have been more mature for the descent. He would have descended into matter as a better, a riper, man ... Because man was already a being able to distinguish between good and evil from the Lemurian epoch to the middle of the Atlantean epoch, he made himself worse than he would otherwise have been; he entered a state of lesser perfection. He would otherwise have spent all the intervening time in a much more spiritual way; but as it was, he passed through it more materially. The effect of this was that if he had received in the middle of the Atlantean epoch what the gods had intended him to have, he would have fallen utterly and completely.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRIST IMPULSE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EGO-CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1926), lecture 3, GA 116.
Arguably, falling utterly and completely during our lives in Atlantis would have been a good thing, since we would have been redeemed immediately (i.e., we would have received the divine impulse that would have led us faster, more surely upward toward divinity). But because we “fell” prematurely in Lemuria, we had to wait until the Crucifixion of the Sun God to receive the Christ impulse:
111) [Delayed Evolution; Evil] “[T]hrough man's having acquired a likeness to the gods before he was meant to do so [i.e., we gained the knowledge of good and evil too soon], we have to describe a delay of the Christ-Impulse. For before that could come man had to go through the Earth-Karma due to him on account of the evil that had entered the earth through the luciferic impulse. He had to wait, not only till that influence had rendered him able to distinguish between good and evil, but until, in the course of the earth's development, all the consequences of the luciferic influence had come.” — COSMIC MEMORY, "The Lemurian Race".
112a) [Scratch One Continent; Volcanos; Fire] In the end, Lemuria sank into the sea. “Lemuria was turbulent. After all, the earth at that time did not yet have its later density. The thin ground was everywhere undermined by volcanic forces which broke forth in smaller or larger streams. Mighty volcanos existed almost everywhere and developed a continuous destructive activity. Men were accustomed to reckoning with this fiery activity in everything they did. They also used this fire in their labors and contrivances. Their occupations were often such that the fire of nature served as a basis for them in the same way as artificial fire does in human labor today. [paragraph break] It was through the activity of this volcanic fire that the destruction of the Lemurian land came about.” — Ibid.
112b) [Scratch One Continent; Fire; Lower Humans] The destruction of Lemuria was our own fault. Or, more properly, it was caused by the lower kinds of humans, who fell under the influence of Lucifer and made evil use of the forces of fire. "[I]n the lower kinds of human beings the life-body [i.e., astral body] was after all too little protected, and could not sufficiently resist the encroachments of the Luciferian nature [i.e., the effects of Lucifer]. Such human beings could [use] the fiery spark of the I...to call forth in their environment mighty workings of fire ... This led eventually to a stupendous Earth catastrophe. A great portion of the then inhabited Earth was destroyed in these fire-storms, and with it perished also the human beings who had fallen into error." — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), pp. 191-192.
So there you have it. In a future episode, we’ll look into our life on Atlantis.
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Lemuria, as it were.
The map of this ancient continent is somewhat devoid of detail,
but this is appropriate since this ancient continent never existed.
To orient you within the fantasy: Lemuria nearly filled today's Indian Ocean.
The southernmost part of today's India is visible at the top of the image;
westernmost Australia is visible at the lower right;
easternmost Africa is visible at the upper left.