PAST & FUTURE


 Our Orbs




This page was originally written for a different website.



 

Steiner distinguished between the members of today's solar system and stages of evolution bearing similar names. When he spoke of Saturn, for instance, he sometimes meant the planet and he sometimes meant the evolutionary period (Old Saturn). If you need to brush up on Steiner's teachings about these matters, see "Planets". You could also look over the "Important 'Clarification'" that appears lower on this page.


Sometimes in his own writings and lectures, Steiner blurred the distinction between places in the solar system and evolutionary periods. Confusion can result for the reader. It is a form of confusion or mystification that weaves throughout Steiner’s doctrines. We need to accustom ourselves to it, keeping the meaning of Steiner's words clear in our own consciousness while allowing the sort of logical laxness Steiner insisted upon. Here’s an example.

 

The Moon and the Sun. The Moon has proven to be a good habitat for humans and others, Steiner assured us. So has the Sun. The following is from a chapter titled “Life On the Moon”, in Steiner's book COSMIC MEMORY: “If, as he had developed on the Sun, man was called plant man, the man of the Moon can be called animal man ... As the Sun man could only elevate himself into a plant by thrusting a portion of his companions down into a coarser mineral realm, so this is now the case with the animal man of the Moon. A portion of the beings which on the Sun still had the same plant nature as himself, he leaves behind him on the level of coarser plantlike-ness [sic] ... 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 ... At that time man was not yet developed in the form of two sexes, but only in one. He was made out of his water air. But as everything in the world exists in transitional stages, in the last Moon periods, two-sexedness [sic] was already developing in a few animal man beings as a preparation for the later condition of the earth.” [1]

 

Note that humans have been different in many ways in various stages or places. This is due to evolution. We have changed greatly as we evolved. In addition to what we have just seen, Steiner sometimes discussed our ancient jelly-like bodies and our bodies made of ether, among other surprises.

 

If in the past we existed on other orbs, in some sense, during our lives here on Earth we have maintained connections with beings on other orbs. We have never been wholly Earthmen. Thus, “There were...beings who had detached Mars from the common cosmic substance and made it their dwelling place under the leadership of their most advanced member. A...type of human beings fell under their influence. These were 'Mars humans,' who also came into existence through interbreeding. (This information sheds light on the origins of the planets of our solar system. All of the celestial bodies in this system came about because of the various stages of maturity of the beings inhabiting them. However, it is not possible to go into all the details of these cosmic divisions here, of course. [sic; of course, we understand])

 

“Human beings who perceived the presence of the exalted Sun-being in their life bodies [etheric bodies, part of our nonphysical constitution] can be called 'Sun humans.' The being who lived in them as their higher I [highest selfhood of an individual or race or species]...is one who was later given various names as human beings acquired conscious knowledge of him. To present-day human beings, the Christ’s relationship to the cosmos is revealed in this being. [Steiner taught that Christ is the Sun God.] 


“We can also distinguish 'Saturn humans.' The being who appears as their higher I had to leave the common cosmic substance along with his associates already [sic] before the Sun’s separation from the Earth. In human beings of this type, both the life body and the physical body had portions that remained untouched by the Luciferic influence [the influence of Lucifer and his minions]. 


“Now, in the case of the lower types of human beings, the life body was too unprotected to be able to withstand the Luciferic influence.” [2]


Note the phrase “lower types of human beings.” A world of misery is contained in such language. I'm biased, of course — being a secularist and rationalist, I'm headed for the Abyss, according to Steiner. You, however, have nothing to worry about. Unless you are black, red, yellow, French, American, Russian... Unless you are an orthodox Christian, or a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Hindu, or... Actually, if Steiner is right, most of us have a lot to worry about. But be of good cheer. He is wrong.

 

◊◊◊◊


Let’s get our feet under us by considering the interior of a planet we all know and love, the Earth. We currently live on the physical orb known as the Earth, as it exists now in the evolutionary period called Present Earth. But like other celestial orbs, the Earth is not primarily a physical object, it is a spiritual manifestation largely responsive to spiritual influences, including the influences we ourselves exert upon its inner nature: “The fate of hundreds and thousands of people may be affected by an earthquake or a volcano. Does the human will influence these things, or is it all a matter of chance? Do dead, natural laws act with blind fury, or does some connection exist between these events and the human will?” [3] Steiner's answer is yes, we will such things as earthquakes into existence. The physical universe is malleable, we and other beings make it as we want (consciously or otherwise) through our spiritual powers. Certain uses of our powers can cause catastrophes, such as the sinking of Atlantis. [See "Atlantis and the Aryans".]

The Earth is comprised of nine layers, extending far below the depths plumbed by miners or oilmen. “You should think of the earth’s living body...as one great living organism. The proper question to ask is: ‘How did dead, lifeless matter, [sic] come about?’ To ask how the living came from the dead is one of the silliest questions, for life came first, and dead matter separated from it in fossils, in a hardening process....” [4] Steiner repeatedly pronounced scientific findings silly or absurd. The notion that life came first may be attractive — as some people find many of Steiner's teachings to be — but where is the evidence for it? Life almost certainly does evolve from inanimate matter — e.g., by drawing on the organic molecules that are readily available throughout the known universe (despite their name, these molecules are not alive; rather, they provide the building blocks for life as we know it). In any event, note Steiner's explicit opposition to science, i.e., real knowledge. [5]

 
“[The] topmost layer is called the Mineral Earth. ” [6]
 
“Beneath it is a second layer called the Fluid Earth which consists of substances comparable to nothing upon the earth [sic] ... [A]s soon as it is brought into contact with something living, it tries to expel or destroy that life....” [7]
 
“The Air Earth is a substance that destroys sensation....” [8]
 
“The Water Earth [sic: not to be confused with the Fluid Earth] ... [T]he negative images of physical things are found here....” [9]
 
“The Fruit Earth [sic] is a substance which is full of exuberant energy. Every bit of it grows out at once like a sponge [sic]....” [10]
 

“The sixth layer is the Fire Earth. Just as the Fruit Earth contains all that lives [sic], so the Fire Earth comprises everything that exists as drives or impulses. It contains the original sources of all animal life, life that experiences pleasure and pain. You may think it strange, but it is true that the Fire Earth becomes sentient as soon as it expands....” [11]


“The Fire Earth is intimately connected with the human will. The Fire Earth produced the tremendous eruptions that brought the Lemurian epoch to an end [Lemuria was a continent that sank before Atlantis; we caused both disasters]. At that time the forces which feed the human will went through a trial which unleashed the fire catastrophe that brought the Lemurian epoch to an end....” [12] The human will, then, is at least partially complicit in so-called natural disasters.

“The Fire Earth is made essentially of feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain and would cry out if stepped on. It consists entirely of passions.” [13] (It will not cry, however, if it sends volcanic eruptions to destroy you. Such eruptions are your own fault.)

The Earth Mirror, the seventh layer, is also known as the Reflector Earth. “This layer gets its name from the fact that, if one concentrates on it, it changes all the characteristics of the earth into their opposites. If the seer [i.e., clairvoyant] disregards everything lying above it and gazes directly down into this layer, and if he then, for example, places something green before him, green appears as red. Every colour [sic] appears as its complementary opposite. A polaric [sic] reflection arises, a reversal of the original. Sorrow is changed to joy by this substance.” [14] And joy to sorrow, and sanity to madness, and...

The eighth layer is the Splintering Earth. “The essential thing is that this layer shatters moral qualities ... Through the power it radiates up to the earth’s surface, it is responsible for the fact that strife and disharmony exist....” [15] 

“The Earth Core is the substance through whose influence black magic arises in the world. The power of spiritual evil comes from this source.” [16] “Mother Earth,” by this accounting, is profoundly destructive and even malignant. When children in Waldorf schools are led to recite graces that thank Mother Earth [see "Prayers"], they may not realize what their teachers think this Mother is really like.

 

◊◊◊◊


The Earth beneath our feet and the planets above our heads exist — as we now know them now — only for a brief time. They have evolved from very different conditions in the dim past and they will evolve into still other, extraordinary conditions in the millennia to come. Overall, Steiner said, they will have passed through seven major conditions before they and their gods and we reach the culmination of evolution in this corner of the cosmos.


Before he invented Anthroposophy, Steiner was a Theosophist. The Theosophical account of evolution is stupendous. It entails many, many solar systems or universes, with gods evolving through vast numbers of stages in realms almost inconceivable to us. Our own solar system and its gods are just one chapter in this immense history. Steiner essentially accepted the Theosophical vision, but he narrowed it, focusing almost wholly on our own little solar system and its own little history.


We stand at the center of this solar system or universe; the gods here direct much of their attention to us. Our evolution is the point of this solar system’s existence, and as we evolve we transmute the solar system. We are on our way to attaining glorious heights of divinity, Steiner assured his followers. [See, e.g., “Tenth Hierarchy”.]


Let’s return to Richard Seddon and his book THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER. Here is how Seddon summarizes the evolutionary history presented and foreseen by Steiner:


“Evolution is seen to proceed in various ‘layers’ of time, somewhat comparable to the layers found in the chaos of phenomena in space. Each layer is sevenfold, which is as much inherent in the inner experiences of time as three dimensions are inherent in the ordinary experience of space. Nevertheless, the first and last stages are really transitional, so that only five show significant progress. The primary significance of evolution is found to consist in the fact that beings belonging to all ranks of the Hierarchies [i.e., all ranks of spiritual beings], of which mankind is today but the lowest, progress at each stage to a higher condition of consciousness [sic]....” [17]


Evolution, in other words, is all about climbing to higher and higher levels of spiritual awareness. This is the narrative found in Steiner’s teachings. The narrative is a condensed, truncated version of the far broader tale told in Theosophy, but Steiner and Seddon insist that we cannot really know anything except the little history of our own little solar system. “Real knowledge can only reach back to a time when some element of the human being existed, This is the Saturn condition [i.e., Old Saturn, the first of the seven conditions of consciousness or planetary conditions in our solar system]....” [18]


“Real knowledge” is a key phrase, obviously. The issue facing anyone interested in Waldorf schools and the thinking behind them is whether any “real knowledge” can be found in Steiner’s teachings. How firm a foundation did Steiner create for his followers to build on? How real are the things he described?


You’ve heard and seen a lot of Steiner’s teachings, by now. Pause, please, and ask yourself how much real knowledge you detect in them.


For Steiner, reality is unreal. We will be evolving beyond it. The great trap in such a perspective is that we can end up caring deeply about fantastic, unreal future states of being, while neglecting — even wasting — our one real life on our one real planetary home in the real universe. That course does not promote human welfare or, indeed, evolution. It is a potentially catastrophic dodge. So, in a manner he did not intend, Steiner was right that we may be responsible for Earthly catastrophes — and we would be all the more likely to do great harm if we attend to fantasists like Steiner.

 

◊◊◊◊


Presenting Steiner's views is a challenge. In explaining them, we may give them a superficial coherence and logic that they do not, in fact, possess. But if we do not explain them, they remain so weird as to defy comprehension. Despite his claim that he was presenting an objective “science,” Steiner was in fact a mystic who dealt in mystification more than clarity. And yet, he attracted followers, and he has followers today. Consider carefully whether you want to join that band of believers — and whether you want members of that band to “educate” your children.


 

— Roger Rawlings


 







We will continue the story at "Matters of Form"



















Waldorf student art courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools.

 


















 




Important "Clarification"






It can be a little difficult (or a lot) to know what Steiner is talking about when he refers to planets. Sometimes he means what most people mean: the natural satellites of the Sun, the physical celestial bodies that orbit the Sun and that we call by such names as Saturn, Earth, Venus, and so on. But sometimes he means something very different: stages of evolution, periods when the entire solar system passed through spiritual/physical conditions of development that occultists refer to using planetary names such as Saturn, Earth, Venus, and so on.


Steiner eventually realized that his terminology (which he adopted largely from Theosophy) was confusing people, so he added this "clarification" at the end of his most important book, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE:
"In certain chapters of this book it has been indicated how the world of man and the human being himself pass through the states that have been designated by the names SaturnSunMoonEarthJupiterVenusVulcan. Indications have also been given concerning the relationship between human evolution and celestial bodies co-existing with the earth, such as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so forth. These latter celestial bodies naturally go through their evolution also. In the present age they have reached a stage in which their physical parts are shown to perception as what is called in physical astronomy Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so forth. If now, in the sense of spiritual science, the present Saturn is studied, it shows itself, so to speak, as a reincarnation of ancient Saturn. It has come into existence because, before the separation of the sun from the earth, certain beings were present who were unable to participate in this separation, since they had absorbed into themselves so many of the characteristics belonging to the Saturn state that they could not abide in an environment where especially the sun characteristics were unfolded. The present Jupiter has arisen, however, through the presence of beings who possessed characteristics that can only unfold on the future Jupiter of general cosmic evolution. An abode came into existence for them in which they are able to anticipate this future evolution. Similarly, Mars is a celestial body on which beings dwell who have passed through the Moon evolution in such a way that the earth could offer them no further advancement. Mars is a reincarnation of the ancient Moon at a higher stage. The present Mercury is the dwelling place of beings who, by having developed certain earth characteristics in a form higher than it can occur on this earth planet, are in advance of the evolution of the Earth. In a similar way the present Venus is a prophetic anticipation of the future Venus state." — Rudolf Steiner,  OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), pp. 385-386.

For more on all this, stay tuned. Specifically, go to "Matters of Form".























Irrelevant, of course. But here is the real Mars. 

[NASA.]


















Here is one concept of Lemuria. 

[http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Lemuria.jpg 

based on Image:Indian Ocean bathymetry srtm.png. {{GFDL}})]












For more on humanity's past, present, and future

(as described by Steiner) see

"Origins"

"Old Saturn"

"Old Sun"

"Old Moon"

"Present Earth"

"Early Earth"

"Lemuria"

"Atlantis"













 






We bring catastrophes on ourselves. But the stars are involved, too. There's an interchange: What we do and think affects the Earth below us and the stars above us; and what happens deep in the Earth and high overhead affects us deeply. Even when we take ourselves out of the picture, there is an interchange: The Earth affects the stars and the stars affect the Earth. Thus, for instance, stars pull stuff out of the depths of the Earth.


“Now let me tell you, gentlemen, how a phenomenon like fire-spewing mountains is usually considered in science ... [T]he learned gentlemen [i.e., scientists] are always looking for the reasons why water vapor rises from a volcano and even bombs fly out; they look for the reasons — yes, they look for them below ground. But that is not where they are ... [I]f the stars above Vesuvius [a volcano] are in a particular position relative to each other...through the position of the stars, with the astral element above thinning out...things are forcibly pulled up from below." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM MAMMOTHS TO MEDIUMS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 27-30. [R.R. sketch, 2010, based on sketch on p. 26.]


















Here's a curious idea that has a fair number of adherents here and there

— especially, for some reason, in Germany.

It is the idea that the Earth is hollow, Hohlweltlehre.

The idea is poppycock, of course, but it is given some credence by Anthroposophists.


Steiner said that the Earth is not generally hollow for human beings, 
but it is hollow for gnomes. (Yes, he believed in gnomes).
“The human being experiences the earth, for instance, as the cosmic body upon which he moves about ... This whole way of experiencing things, this whole attitude towards the earth, is, however, completely alien to the gnomes; they sink down everywhere, because for them the whole earth-body is primarily a hollow space through which they can pass ... For the gnomes it is a transparent globe, a hollow body.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 9, GA 230. [Illustration taken from James Randi's ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAIMS, FRAUDS, AND HOAXES OF THE OCCULT AND SUPERNATURAL (St. Martin's Griffin, 1995), p. 117.]

Some of Steiner's followers have taken the hollow-Earth idea further.
See, for instance, 



Sigismund von Gleich, THE TRANSFORMATION OF EVIL -
and the Subterranean Spheres of the Earth
(Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005).
Von Gleich says that the hollow-Earth concept has been "confirmed by spiritual research."
Worrisomely, he adds, the "hollow interior of the earth" is anything but benign. [p. 33]
But I wouldn't lose sleep over it, if I were you.












You will find additional material further down on this page.
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.


◊◊◊ 11. THE WALDORF WORLDVIEW ◊◊◊



EVERYTHING

An examination of Steiner’s central text


PREHISTORY 101
Steiner’s extraordinary, sci-fi-like narrative of human evolution.
The tale of our ancient past and our distant future, as told by Steiner. It continues in:






PAST AND FUTURE






LOVE AND THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN
Steiner promoted love, sort of


Surprising violence in Steiner's kindly vision


And badder, and baddest


THE GOOD WARS
America, Germany, and Waldorf


KNOWING THE WORLDS
How to, he said

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Steiner’s occult conspiracy theories


THE WHITE LODGE

Back-room maneuvers










Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essay on that page; 
others are not — they provide general context. 








ENDNOTES

 

[1] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1986), pp. 193-195.

[2] Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 238-239.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH: An Esoteric Study of the Subterranean Spheres (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 29.

[4] Ibid., p. 10.

[5] Is it possible that there are important regions of reality lying undiscovered, outside the known universe? Certainly, it is possible. And might there be life forms out there that are totally unlike life as we know it? Certainly, this is also possible. But here is the crucial point: We don’t know. Maybe we will know someday, but for now, we don’t. It is frustrating not to know the answers to important questions. But honesty and self-respect sometimes require us to make such admissions. The alternative is to deceive others and, perhaps, ourselves. 

Steiner claimed to know things that are unknowable by ordinary means. Could the universe really be as he described it? (Brace yourself for a shock.) Yes. It is, just barely, conceivable that Steiner was right. But here is another important point: Steiner gave us no good reason to believe him. All he did was to make unsupported assertions that hinge on a form of “cognition” — clairvoyance — that is highly suspect, to put it mildly. The likelihood that Steiner was right is slim, and it grows slimmer each year as science reveals more and more of the universe's actual workings. I discuss these matters at some length in such essays at "Steiner's Blunders",
Steiner’s ‘Scienceand "Steiner's Illogic".

We will almost certainly discover new regions of reality — science makes such discoveries frequently. And we may very well discover bizarre forms of life — we recently found some near thermal vents deep in the Earth’s oceans. Such discoveries become part of the known universe, and sometimes they expand the boundaries of life as we know it. (Not life as we live it, as intelligent mammals, but life are our intelligence enables us to comprehend it.) If we discover that some amazing life forms do not depend on organic molecules, then we will have to change our understanding of such molecules. And that will be great, because that’s how we advance, by gaining new knowledge, learning new truths. Our glory lies in the enlargement of comprehension and compassion; it does not lie in the spinning of fantasies, no matter how alluring they may seem.

[6] Ibid., p. 30.

[7] Ibid., p. 30.

[8] Ibid., p. 30.

[9] Ibid., p. 30.

[10] Ibid., p. 30.

[11] Ibid., p. 31.

[12] Ibid., p. 27.

[13] Ibid., p. 31.

[14] Ibid., p. 31.

[15] Ibid., p. 31.

[16] Ibid., p. 32.

Steiner was inconsistent. For instance, sometimes instead of the Fluid Earth, he spoke of the Soft Earth, and he occasionally called the Air Earth the Steam Earth. His descriptions of the ninth layer were especially varied. Here's a version that makes #9 seem potentially less malignant:  “The ninth and final layer is the dwelling place of the spirit of our planet and has two peculiar features. One may compare it with a human being, for it has an organ resembling a brain. Another organ is similar to a heart. Also, the planetary spirit is subject to changes which are closely connected with human evolution.” — Ibid., p. 22. Of course, having a brain and a heart doesn't necessarily make this spirit our friend. Certainly the spirit isn't a friend if it is a source of spiritual evil for us.

 

In any event, note that Steiner implicitly concedes that, in describing planets, he is talking about physical members of the solar system: The spirit dwells within the ninth layer of the Earth, which is physical. The whole point of “spiritualizing” the Earth is to take something physical and make it spiritual. What holds for the Earth presumably holds for the other planets as well — words such as “Saturn” do, at least in part, apply to physical spheres.

 

It's also worth noticing that the Earth spirit is comparable to us because it, too, has a (sort of) brain and a (sort of) heart. Steiner waffled on the subject of brains, sometimes emphasizing them (as when he said that fair blonds have better brains than dark-skinned, dark-haired folks [HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86]), but often he disparaged brains, saying that to really know anything we need to use organs of clairvoyance instead [KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 28]. As for hearts, perhaps his most enduring legacy is his wacky, but oft-repeated, assertion that hearts do not pump blood [e.g., FREUD, JUNG, AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY (SteinerBooks, 2001), pp. 124-125]. On the latter point, he was at least consistent — consistently wrong.


[17] Richard Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (The Temple Lodge, 2002), p. 8.


[18] Ibid., pp. 8-9.