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Do not confuse Old Moon with the Moon.
Old Moon was a period in time;
Moon is a place in the sky.
As you may recall, our first stage of evolution occurred on/during Old Saturn, and our second stage unfolded during/on Old Sun. In a rhythmic fashion, our solar system emerged from nonphysicality into physical existence (manvantara*) as "Saturn,"** and then it subsided (pralaya*); then it reemerged as "Sun,"*** and then it sank from view again. During the manvantara phases — which we might call periods of manifestation — our ancient predecessors began their crawl upward toward becoming the fine specimens of humanity we are today.
* These are sanskrit terms used in Theosophy. Steiner used them early in his occult career, but later he tended to drop them. Manvantara means coming into existence or activity, and pralaya means subsiding or melting away. More or less. Bear in mind that the "physical" conditions that prevailed during all phases prior to the present were quite different from what we know now.
** "Saturn," in the sense meant here, is not the planet Saturn we see in the sky today. It is Old Saturn, the first incarnation of the solar system, the first mega-stage of our evolution.
*** I.e., Old Sun, the second incarnation of the solar system, the second mega stage of our evolution.
During Old Saturn, we were little more than eggs of warmth, but we began developing our physical bodies, although our consciousness was no higher than utter dullness. We existed at an essentially mineral level (on an evolutionary scale that goes from mineral to plant to animal to human). After Old Saturn sank back out of palpable existence, Old Sun eventually manifested. During Old Sun, we became airy creatures and we began developing our etheric bodies (the first of three invisible bodies we would develop). Our consciousness rose to the equivalent of deep slumber, and we were, in effect, plants or plant-men. Another pralaya followed Old Sun, and then eventually the next manifestation occurred in the form of Old Moon, which I will now describe.
During our Old Moon phase, we gained the first primordial version of our astral bodies (the second of our invisible bodies), our consciousness rose to the level of dreaming sleep, and we became animal-men. Our chief assistants on/during Old Moon were the Sons of Life, aka Spirits of Twilight, aka Angels (gods one level above us). But, as during previous manvantaras, other gods also pitched in.
67) [Bodying Up] “[T]he Fire Spirits [i.e., gods two levels above us]* are active in the astral body** [i.e., they were active in the formation of our astral bodies, and they remain active there now] ... [W]hat the Fire Spirits produce in the astral body are vivid emotions, love and hate, rage, fear, horror, stormy passions, instincts, impulses and so forth. Because the Spirits of Personality [gods three levels above us]...have previously inoculated this astral body with their nature, these emotions now appear with the character of selfhood, of separateness [i.e., during Old Moon, these gods helped us to start developing individual spiritual identities]. One must now represent to oneself how at that time the ancestor of man [i.e., ourselves as we were then] is constituted on the Moon [i.e., during Old Moon]. He has [i.e., had] a physical body through which in dullness he develops a ‘spirit self’ (Manas [i.e., a reincarnating self]).*** He has an ether body, through which the Twilight Spirits [gods one level above us] feel joy and pain; and finally he possesses an astral body which, through the Fire Spirits [gods two levels above us], is moved by impulses, emotions, and passions.
“...[The] animal man [i.e., us, having risen from the plant level to the animal level]...is on a higher level than the present-day animals of earth. It possesses the qualities of animality in a more complete way. In a certain respect these are more savage and unbridled than present-day animal qualities.
“...The animal man of the Moon does not yet have firm bones. His skeleton is still cartilaginous. His whole nature is soft, compared to that of today. Hence his mobility too is different. His locomotion is not a walking, but rather a leaping, even a floating. This could be the case because the Moon of that time did not have a thin, airy atmosphere like that of present-day earth, but its envelope was considerably thicker, even denser than the water of today. He moved forward and backward, up and down in this viscous element ... At that time man was not yet developed in the form of two sexes, but only in one. He was made out of this water air. But as everything in the world [i.e., in the solar system, Old Moon] exists in transitional stages, in the last Moon periods [we went through seven developmental periods during Old Moon], two-sexedness was already developing in a few animal man beings as a preparation for the later condition of the earth [i.e., life on/during Present Earth: our next period of manavantara].” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY, chapter 16 (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), pp. 192-195.
* For a list of types of gods, see "Polytheism".
** See "Incarnation".
*** See "Our Parts".
68) [The Sun Splits] “[A] kind of severance took place at a certain point during the Old Moon embodiment. The Sun, progressing as it was within the cosmic expanse [i.e., the Sun, Moon, etc., were all combined in a single mass], separated from the planetary body [i.e., it split off from the unified mass] together with the finest substances and higher beings. The less progressed part of the planetary body, namely, Old Moon itself, still containing all that constitutes our present earth and present moon, remained as a kind of cloud-body. Certain conditions brought about a densification or hardening on Old Moon and the same happened to the beings inhabiting it ... The subsequent human-animal-plant kingdom that came into existence on Old Moon now received the forces of the Sun from outside ... The Old Moon was like a great organism, living and mobile, on which the beings living might have felt like parasites of today.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN ESOTERICISM (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), lecture 7, GA 109.
In brief, the Sun split and took with it various higher beings. Left on the Moon were lower beings and substances, including you and me as we existed then, as animal-men. We were all together in a nebulous cloud which was the Old Moon, containing what would become our present Earth and Moon. On Old Moon, after the Sun left, everything got denser and harder — that is, more physical: This was preparation for becoming even more physical and descending to our very, very physical earthly existence. Following the departure of the Sun, we could receive the Sun's influence only externally, no longer internally. We moved over the face of the Moon like lice.
69) [The Sun Returns] The departure of the Sun was reversed, as it were, when everything collapsed in the post-Old Moon pralaya, but the split would recur. There's a neat chart on p. 357 of THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997) that gives at least a general sense of it all (albeit some of the terminology is Theosophical; Steiner changed to different terms for some things later).
[THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 357.]
We are evolving left to right along each of these scales. At the risk of repeating myself, briefly: We have lived "on" Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, and now we are "on" Present Earth. (This can get a bit confusing. "Earth" is the planet we live on, but "Present Earth" is the period of evolution we are now going through. The planet Earth existed, in various forms, as part of Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, just as the "planets" Saturn, Sun, and Moon exist now, during Present Earth. OK?) At present, during Present Earth, we live in the Mineral Kingdom. (That is, we have not yet become fully human — we are still very densely physical or mineral. We will evolve upward to the Human Kingdom.) Within the Mineral Kingdom, we are presently incarnated in the Physical-Etheric State. (That is, at present we are largely defined by our physical and etheric bodies. This is often called simply the Physical State or the Physical State of Form. We will evolve higher.) Within the Physical-Etheric State, we currently live in the Present Great Epoch. (We left the continent of Atlantis and now we live in the world as we know it now. This is often called the Post-Atlantean Epoch.) Within the Present Great Epoch, we are currently in the Present Cultural Epoch. (Cultural Epochs are far shorter than Great Epochs; there are seven Cultural Epochs in one Great Epoch. Our present Cultural Epoch is sometimes called the Anglo-Germanic Age; the coming Sixth Cultural Epoch is sometimes called the Russian Age; the Seventh Cultural Epoch — the last one in our Great Epoch, which will culminate in the cataclysmic War of All Against All — is sometimes called the American Age. Survivors of the War of All Against All will evolve to the Sixth Great Epoch.) OK?
69a) [Lucifer Rises] Returning to the past: An enormously important event involving the Moon, as it were, was the Luciferic Rebellion, meaning the revolt led by Lucifer. Beings full of Moon essence sought to free themselves from the influences of the good forces in the universe. This had consequence for us, as humans, because the rebels went to work on us, eventually.
“...Certain spiritual beings took an active part in the evolution of mankind just at the time of the moon separation [i.e., the separation of the Moon from Earth, during the Lemurian Age — see the chart], beings who had retained so much of their [Old] Moon nature that they could not participate in the separation of the sun from the earth [i.e., they were to backward or evil to go with the good Sun beings] ... In their Moon nature lay the cause of their rebellion during the ancient Moon evolution [Old Moon] against the sun spirits, a rebellion that was at that time beneficial to the human being by its having led him to an independent state of consciousness [the Luciferic Moon beings rebelled, separating the good from the bad, and thus creating the possibility of freedom: We could choose the white path or the black path (see the section "Freedom," above)] ... The opposing powers [the rebels] had brought with them, out of their Moon nature, the force to work on the human astral body, namely...to make it independent [i.e., separating us from the generality of the solar system, and creating the possibility of free choice] ... If we say [that] the beings endowed with the ancient Moon nature approached the human being in order to ‘seduce’ him for their own ends, we employ a symbolic expression that is good as long as we remain conscious of its symbolical character and are at the same time clear in our own minds that behind the symbol stands a spiritual fact, a spiritual reality [the rebellious Moon beings tried to seduce us into choosing the path of evil; this is only a symbolic way to describe what happened, but it conveys a spiritual truth.]
“...These moon beings...may be called Luciferic spirits [i.e., minions of Lucifer or, in a sense, Lucifer himself, seen as a combined spirit].* These spirits brought to the human being the possibility of unfolding a free activity in his consciousness,** but at the same time also the possibility of error, of evil.”*** — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 6, GA 13.
* See "Lucifer".
** See "Freedom".
*** See the entry for "evil" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.
70) [Good Old Lucifer] Because Lucifer gave us the gift of potential freedom, Anthroposophists often speak of him as a good god. But note that Steiner says Lucifer also brought us "the possibility of error, of evil.” Heeding Lucifer is dangerous. We may be led into evil, in which case we may descend into states of being that are almost too awful to contemplate. “[T]he human being must conduct himself so as not to be led into the abyss by this adversary.” [Ibid.] Evil is a very real force in Steiner's cosmology, even though his followers sometimes deny it. Lucifer if an "adversary." He may lead us to "error" or "evil." Specifically, he may lead us into the "abyss." According to Steiner, the abyss is akin to hell* — it is the region separating us from the spirit realm. If we fall into it, we may be forever cut off from spirituality. (70a): "[T]here is also an opposing principle to the Lamb [Christ], there is also a Sun-Demon [the Antichrist],** the so-called Demon of the Sun, that works with the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works in such a way that a certain part of the human race is trust out of the evolution that leads to the sun [i.e., the realm of Christ, the Sun God] ... [They will] be thrown out of our evolution when the 666 conditions of development have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss.”*** — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 198.
* See "Hell".
*** This is the process of separating the good from the bad that we saw during our study of Old Sun. [See Steiner Static quotation #57.]
71) [A Future Moon] In discussing the Moon, and Old Moon, and the fate of evil humans, we should leap far ahead for just one moment. Following our lives during Present Earth, we will evolve to Future Jupiter, then Future Venus, and then Future Vulcan. [See "Future Stages".] Aberrant humans will be dropped off or pushed out at various stages, although often the good humans will reach back in an effort to redeem the wicked. Eventually, a more or less complete separation between the good and evil will occur during Future Venus. The good will continue evolving — they will go on to Future Vulcan. But the evil will be split off to reside in a moon created to serve as their penal colony. “During that state [i.e., during Old Venus] a special cosmic body splits off [i.e., will split off] that contains all the beings who have resisted evolution, a so to speak ‘irredeemable moon,’ which now moves toward an evolution, for the character of which no expression can be found because it is too dissimilar to anything that man can experience on earth [i.e., the remaining bad souls will be segregated on a separate “moon” where they will undergo an unimaginable fate]. The evolved mankind, however, advances [i.e., will advance] in a completely spiritualized existence to the Vulcan evolution [i.e., Future Vulcan], the description of which does not lie within the scope of this book [i.e., all the good souls will go to Vulcan, where they will undergo a wonderful evolution — which, sad to say, Steiner declines to describe].” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 6, GA 13.
You may be asking yourself how Steiner knew all this, and — more to the point — why so many Waldorf teachers believe all this. But maybe we shouldn't ask. It can be disillusioning. (The answer is clairvoyance, dreams, astrology, and so forth. Delusion. Fantasy. Imagination.)
After Old Moon, we evolved to Present Earth. We'll pick up the story in a future installment.
SEVEN PLANETARY CONDITIONS
or CONDITIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
INCARNATIONS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊ ◊ 7. Future Vulcan ◊
◊ 2. Old Sun ◊ ◊ 6. Future Venus ◊
◊ 3. Old Moon ◊ ◊ 5. Future Jupiter ◊
◊ 4. Present Earth ◊....
These are the seven mega-stages of our evolution, according to Steiner.
(He sometimes said there will be five more after Future Vulcan, but he didn't describe them.)
As the solar system evolves from one incarnation to the next,
we evolve from one form of consciousness to the next.
Along the way, we dwell "on" the successive "planets"
(i.e., we live at the focal point of the solar system as it exists then).
[See the entries for "incarnations of the solar system", "conditions of consciousness",
and "planetary conditions" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
Our evolution from Old Saturn to Present Earth is, in a sense, a descent,
in that we become more densely physical at each stage.
But thereafter we reascend toward greater and higher spirituality.