We tend to think of “human beings” as ourselves, a species that exists on the planet we call “Earth.”
But not so fast, Steiner said.
(If the first passage, below, is difficult to decipher,
I suggest that you plow ahead anyway, if only to get a feel for Steinertalk.
Other passages, further below, may seem clearer.
The main thing to grasp for starters is that according to Steiner we have lived "on" various planets
— or we have lived during various evolutionary stages named for various planets —
and other beings have done so as well, beings that are more highly evolved than we are.
They passed through their own "human" phases of development
before we ourselves became human.)
“[O]n Sun [i.e., during the "Old Sun" stage of evolution] the human being receives something into his bodily nature that corresponds in reality to the Saturn stage [of evolution]. Now as the Saturn body of man made it possible for the Spirits of Personality [i.e., gods three levels above mankind] to rise to their ‘human’ level, so on the Sun does this Saturn part of man render a like service to the Fire Spirits [i.e., gods two levels above mankind]. These rise to their human stage by pouring their forces in and out of it, just as the Spirits of Personality did on Saturn. This too takes place during the middle epoch of Sun evolution, for then the Saturn part of the human being is sufficiently mature for the Fire Spirits (The Archangeloi) to pass through their human stage with its assistance.
“Another portion of the Saturn warmth-substance separates off and comes to an independent existence alongside of and among the Sun human beings, constituting thus a second kingdom, developing a fully independent, but purely physical body — a body of warmth.” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), chapter 4, part 4, GA 13.
As you read through the passages quoted here, bear in mind that Steiner spoke of both planets (that is, the worlds we see in the sky, orbiting the Sun) and planetary conditions (that is, periods of evolution characterized by planetary forces). The physical planets that we see today are, according to Steiner, both physical and spiritual: they manifest spiritual realities, and they are the home of various spirits (chiefly gods and demons). They share the present solar system with us, and they existed in different forms during previous stages of cosmic evolution, just as they will assume different forms during future evolutionary stages.
The stages of the solar system — that is, stages in the evolution of the solar system — are, according to Steiner, "planetary conditions" or "conditions of consciousness." They are Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Present Earth, Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. The entire solar system originally came into existence during the period called Old Saturn; the entire solar system has evolved to the current period, Present Earth; and the entire solar system will evolve to the period called Future Vulcan. In accordance with these names, these stages of evolution are called "planetary conditions." However, a clearer term is "conditions of consciousness," because the main thing that happens during evolution is that beings rise to higher and higher states of consciousness. We humans (or our proto-human forbears) were in a comatose state during Old Saturn; today, during Present Earth, we have waking consciousness; during Future Vulcan, we will have perfected intuition.
The following passages contain references to both planets and planetary conditions. I'll leave it to you to sort them out. [For guidance, see, e.g., "Planets".]
“We will now picture the human being of Saturn who has the first rudiments of the physical body. We must visualize hovering above him beings who are the Spirits of Form and have an etheric body, astral body, I, spirit-self, life-spirit, spirit-man, to the eighth member. Now we must think of the next stage. In the Sun-human-being we have the physical body and the etheric body. The etheric body had been instilled into man by the Spirits of Form, keeping their astral body, so that they had their astral body, their I, up to the ninth member. Then we pass on to the Moon.
“We have man consisting of the physical, etheric, astral bodies. The astral body has been sacrificed to man by the Spirits of Form who then have as lowest member the I, and spirit-self, and so forth, up to the tenth member. All that we call ‘man’ has gradually flowed down out of the environment of the planet, has been put together, so to speak, from outside. All that is within was once outside, has entered into man from without.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 4, GA 102.
“One might imagine that nowhere does there exist, alongside the present Earth state, a previous Saturn, Sun, and Moon state, or even a human form such as is described in this exposition as having existed in these earlier stages. It is true that Saturn human beings, Sun and Moon human beings do not move about side by side with Earth humanity in the same way as three-year-old children move about alongside fifty-year-old men and women, but within the earthly human being the previous states of humanity are supersensibly perceptible. In order to know this we must have acquired the power of discrimination and extend it to include the full scope of the conditions of life. The three-year-old child exists alongside the fifty-year-old man; similarly, the corpse, the sleeping, and the dreaming human being exist alongside the living, waking Earth man. Although these various forms of existence of the being of man — as they are at present — do not directly correspond to the various stages of evolution, nevertheless a genuine perception sees in such forms of manifestation these various evolutionary stages.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 4, part 1, GA 13.
“The things and beings in Moon man's environment exercised no immediate effect on any human senses. Man's mental life was rather of the following character. In this dim twilight consciousness, pictures were called up by the presence of these things and begins; and the pictures were far more intimately related to the real inner nature of the environment than are our sense-perceptions, which reveal — in colors, sounds, smells, etc. — merely its outer aspect. To gain a better idea of Moon man's consciousness we should imagine him steeped in the vapor-like environment above described. Manifold processes are taking place within it. Substances are combining, substances are separating; some parts grow more condensed, others thin out, become more tenuous. All this goes on in such a way that though the human beings do not directly see or hear it, it calls forth pictures in their consciousness. These may be likened to the pictures of our dream-consciousness today. Let us say, an object falls to the floor. The sleeper does not perceive the real process, but instead some arbitrary picture — for example, he thinks a shot is being fired. The pictures of Moon consciousness, however, unlike our dream-pictures, are not arbitrary. Though they are not copies but symbols only of outer processes, nevertheless they correspond to them. For a particular outer process one picture will arise and no other. Moon man is thus in a position to order his conduct according to the pictures, just as today man orders his conduct according to his perceptions. Only, observe the difference; conduct based on our perceptions is subject to free choice whereas action under the influence of these pictures takes place as though impelled by a deep inner urge.” — OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, chapter 4, part 5.
“The complete fulfilment of what I have just been describing — the development into Mars man, Jupiter man, Saturn man — will come about only in the future. During our present epoch we can make only the circle of the Mars region after death, through the activity of world-forces; after that we are unable to do more than touch on the Jupiter region. We have to go through many earthly lives before being able — between death and rebirth — to enter fully the Jupiter region and, later still, that of Saturn.
“In order that man, though not yet able to enter the Jupiter region, may receive, between death and a new birth, something of the forces of Jupiter and also of Saturn, many planetoids are interspersed between Mars and Jupiter; in their outer aspect they are constantly being discovered by the astronomers. They make up the region which in its spiritual aspect is experienced by a man after death because he cannot yet reach Jupiter. They have the remarkable characteristic of being spiritual colonies, as it were, of beings from Jupiter and Saturn who have withdrawn there. And before a man is ripe for existence on Earth, he can find in this region of the planetoids, which are there for that purpose, a kind of preparatory substitute, before he is able to enter the region of Jupiter and Saturn. At present, therefore, by the time a man has gone through death and rebirth, he has achieved his Mars-organisation, and has absorbed those Jupiter and Saturn forces to be found in the colonised regions of the planetoids. With the after-effects of this — we still have to learn about them — the human being embarks on another earthly life.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 10, GA 227.*
“If, as he had developed on the Sun, man was called plant man, the man of the Moon can be called animal man. That the latter can develop presupposes that the environment also changes. It has been shown that the plant-man of the Sun could only develop because an independent mineral realm was established alongside the realm of this plant man. During the first two Moon eras (rounds) these two earlier realms, plant realm and mineral realm, again emerge from the darkness. They are changed only in that they both have become somewhat coarser and denser. During the third Moon era a part of the plant realm splits off. It does not take part in the transition to coarseness. It thereby provides the substance out of which the animal nature of man can be formed. It is this animal nature which, in its union with the more highly formed ether body and with the newly developed astral body, produces the threefold nature of man which we have described above. The entire plant world which had been formed on the Sun could not develop into animality. For animals require the plant for their existence. A plant world is the basis of an animal world. 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. As the animal man of the Moon is not like the animals of today, but rather stands midway between present animal and present man, so too the mineral of the Moon lies between the mineral of today and the plant of today. The mineral of the Moon is something plantlike. The Moon rocks are not stones in the sense of today; they have an animated, sprouting, growing character. Similarly, the Moon plant has a certain character of animality.
“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. In this element also lived the minerals and animals from which he absorbed his nourishment. In this element was even contained the power which later on the earth was wholly transferred to the beings themselves — the power of fertilization. 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 was already developing in a few animal man beings as a preparation for the later condition of the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 16, GA 11.
“On Jupiter human beings will no longer have physical hands that are mobile organs [sic], for they will be fixed. On the other hand [sic] their astral and ether hands [sic] will be in part able to move outside those physical hands. As a result, Jupiter man will not merely think with his brain, for his fixed hands will enable him to reflect into [sic] the elements now united with his physical hands.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE DESTINIES OF INDIVIDUALS AND OF NATIONS (SteinerBooks, 1986), p. 152.
“Just as the man of head is connected with the past and is able to come into being because the relation of the Moon to the Earth recapitulates the past evolutions of Saturn, Sun, Moon, so is the limb-man connected with the Earth, but actually with the preparation for the transformations of Earth into Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan. Hence a human being cannot form his head directly on the Earth, for over this the Earth has no power. It is only because he brings with him the forces from before birth, before conception, and is then sheltered within the mother's body from his earthly environment, with the Cosmos working upon him by way of the Moon — only because of all this can the head come into being as a higher metamorphosis of the limb-man of the previous incarnation. The man of the limb-system, arising as he does under the influence of the Earth, cannot come to completion; he can do nothing for the head. During Earth-evolution he is incapable of what he will be able to do during the Venus-evolution. Just as the stag casts his antlers, the human being will then dispense with his head, and out of the rest of himself develop a different one — certainly an enviable lot for the Venus-man! But this is what actually appears to spiritual vision as the future condition of the human being. Things that are part of reality appear grotesque compared with those having earthly limitations, but reality far outstrips what is accessible to our narrow earthly understanding. We must face the fact that our earthly power of observation gives us merely part of reality, and that when we observe only earthly conditions we really know nothing of the human being.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Shaping of the Human Form out of Cosmic and Earthly Forces” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY, 1972), a lecture, GA 202.
“During the Saturn period man received the rudiments of his physical body, on the Sun his etheric body, on the Moon his astral body and on the Earth his ego, and he has been gradually developing these principles. But within the ego he is increasingly bringing experiences of a new kind into being and stripping off what he inherited, what he was given on Saturn, Sun and Moon. And a time will come — the Venus evolution — when man will have cast off all that the gods gave him during the Moon, Sun and Saturn evolution and the first half of the Earth evolution ... Thus on reaching Venus, man will not be able to say: Everything from Saturn, Sun and Moon evolution is still in me — for by then he will have cast it all off. And at the end of his evolution he will bear within him only what he has gained through his own efforts, not what he was given, but what he has created out of nothingness.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), lecture 9, GA 107.
“A great service was bestowed on the human soul by the sagas, as long as man in earlier times could understand their truths in his feeling life. An example of this is the old saga of the sphinx. The sphinx propounded the riddle: In the morning it goes on four, at mid-day on two and in the evening on three. What is that? It is man. To begin with, in the morning of the earth, man in his animal state went on fours. The front limbs were at that time organs of movement. He then raised himself to the upright position. The limb system separated off into two categories and the organs divided into the physical-sensible and the spiritual organs. He then went on two. In the distant future the lower organs will fall away and also the right hand. Only the left hand and the two petalled lotus flower will remain. Then he goes on three. That is why the Vulcan human being limps. His legs are in retrogression; they cease to have significance. At the end of evolution, in the Vulcan metamorphosis of the Earth, man will be the three-membered being that the saga indicates as the ideal.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 3, GA 93a.
“Although the Luciferic influence first made itself felt among the most advanced human beings, it soon spread to others as well. The descendants of advanced human beings intermingled with the less advanced ones described above, allowing the Luciferic force to reach them too. But the life bodies of souls returning from the planets could not be protected to the same extent as those belonging to the descendants of souls that had remained on Earth, who were protected by an exalted being whose leadership in the cosmos was in effect when the Sun separated from the Earth. In the domain under consideration here, this being appeared as the ruler of the Sun kingdom. The exalted beings who had attained sufficient maturity through their cosmic evolution moved with this being to a dwelling place on the Sun.
“However, there were also beings who had not ascended to such heights at the time of the Sun’s separation, and they had to look for different settings for their activity. These were the beings who brought about the withdrawal of Jupiter and the other planets from the common cosmic substance that was originally included in the physical organism of the Earth. Jupiter became the dwelling place of some of the beings who had not matured to the level of the Sun. The most advanced among them became the leader of Jupiter. Just as the leader of the Sun’s evolution became the higher I that worked in the life body of the descendants of human beings who had remained on Earth, this Jupiter leader became the higher I that spread like a common consciousness through the human beings who had their origins in the interbreeding of Earth offspring with humans who first appeared on Earth during the period of the air element and then moved to Jupiter. In the sense of spiritual science, we can call these the 'Jupiter humans.' They were descended from beings who had still embodied human souls at a certain time in the distant past, but had not been mature enough to participate in the first contact with fire at the beginning of the Earth phase of evolution. These were souls that fell between the human and animal kingdoms.
“There were also 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 third 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.)
“Human beings who perceived the presence of the exalted Sun-being in their life bodies can be called ‘Sun humans.’ The being who lived in them as their higher I — only in the generations, of course, not in individuals — 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.
"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 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 237-239.
“We have reached the point where the Sun evolution has arrived at the central stage of its development. It is at this time that the Spirits of Personality — who had reached their human stage on Saturn — rise to a still higher stage of perfection. They surpass their human stage and acquire a consciousness that our present earthly humanity has not yet attained in the regular course of its evolution ... There are some who fall short of it. Thus during the Saturn evolution not all of the Spirits of Personality actually reach the human stage for which they were originally destined in the manner described. Likewise, not all of the human physical bodies, formed on Saturn, attain the degree of maturity that would have made them capable of becoming bearers of an independent life body on the Sun. The result is that upon the Sun there exist beings and formations that do not fit into its conditions. These have to retrieve, during the Sun evolution, what they failed to attain upon Saturn. Hence, during the Sun stage the following can be observed. When the Spirits of Wisdom begin to pour in the life body, the body of the Sun, as it were, becomes turbid — darkened. Structures are mingled with it that in reality would belong to Saturn. These are heat structures that are unable to condense properly to air. These are the human beings who have remained behind at the Saturn stage. They are unable to become bearers of a regularly developed life body. — The heat substance of Saturn, which remained behind in this way, divides itself into two sections on the Sun. One section is absorbed, as it were, by the human bodies and forms a kind of lower nature within the human being. This human being at the Sun stage thus takes into his corporeality something actually corresponding to the Saturn stage. Just as the human body of Saturn made it possible for the Spirits of Personality to rise to their human stage, so now this Saturn part of the human being performs on the Sun the same task for the Spirits of Fire.” — AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE, chapter 4, part 4.
“The Angels were passing through their human stage during the Moon development. There were Angel-men on the Moon who, so to speak, looked at the way the hindrances acted on development, and who said to themselves: ‘We can now put ourselves in the way of conquering the hindrances, we can plunge into the whole stream of the Moon's evolution; but we prefer to pass it by, we do not want to plunge into it, we want to remain above with the good Gods.’ These Angels tore themselves away, at a certain moment of the Moon's development, from the Mights who were throwing hindering influence down into the Moon-evolution. But there were other Angels who said to themselves: ‘We will not follow our brothers, for if we follow them, development would turn back, nothing new would be embodied in it.’ Just because of the existence of these hindering influences, something new was infused into evolution, from the time of the Moon onwards. Those Beings who said to themselves: ‘I shall have nothing to do with that which is going on down there, I shall stay with the Mights who do not wish to be tainted by anything low,’ these withdrew from the mass of the Moon and became part of the followers of all that is connected with the Sun. They would not have anything to do with what was proceeding on the forsaken Moon, when all the hindering powers held sway. But the other Beings who plunged down into it, had now to take into their bodily nature; (which they received on the Moon) all the hindering influences that existed there. They had to harden themselves more, as it were, than would otherwise have been the case. Their bodily sheaths became denser than they would otherwise have been. In their bodies were implanted the consequences of the deeds of the Mights, but these deeds were well rooted in the divine plan of the world — we must keep that well in mind. A further result of this was, that as the Moon development passed on into that of the Earth, the whole process was repeated, and those Beings who had plunged into the full tide of the Moon's development, remained behind those who would have nothing to do with it, and others remained still further back, and were attracted by the retrograding development. The result of all this was, that during the earth evolution Angel-men existed, who were advanced, and others who were retrograde [i.e., ‘abnormal’].” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928), lecture 10, GA 110.
— Compiled by Roger Rawlings
* Steiner said that we develop appropriate planetary organs as we go along: “[O]n the Earth you think: There is the Sun, shining down upon us; the Sun is in the centre and sheds its rays all around. On entering the realm of the spiritual Sun we find the Sun to be no longer in a definite place — it is everywhere. A man is then within the Sun; it shines in upon him from the periphery, and is, in truth, the spiritual skin of the entity he has become. Moreover, within the realm of the spiritual Sun, we have what must be described as organs. In the same way that in earthly life we have head, heart, limbs, and, immediately after death, Moon, Mercury, Venus [organs], so, after that, we have organs which we must attribute to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
“These are then our inner organs, just as heart, pineal gland, kidneys, are on Earth. All this has gone through a metamorphosis into the spiritual and these new organs, not fully formed when first we leave the soul-world and enter the world of spirit, now have to be gradually developed. For this purpose we do not describe one circle only in the Sun-existence, as in our Moon-existence, but three. In the first circle the spiritual Mars organ is developed; in the second, the Jupiter organ, and the Saturn organ in the last circle. If we compare them with earthly periods of time, we find that these three circles are traversed much more slowly, about twelve times more slowly than the relatively fast Moon circle. And during this whole journey, while a man is living in the world of spiritual spheres and participating in its forces, he is continually active. Just as we are active here with the forces of nature, so there we are active with the forces, the Beings, of the higher Hierarchies, whose physical manifestation in the surrounding starry heavens is only an outer reflection, as with the Sun and Moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 10, GA 227.
“Are there organs in the human body which already today point prophetically to the future? There are indeed such organs. True, they are by no means fully developed today but they will reach greater perfection and after the decline of other organs will belong to man in a higher form when he becomes the future Jupiter-man. One such organ is the larynx. Today it is only on the way towards higher development. It reveals itself in a germinal state and will become something quite different in time to come. If we study the larynx in its relation to the lung, we can say that in a certain way it presupposes the lung, it evolves on the basis of the lung's existence. But we realise at the same time that man is still at an imperfect stage with respect to what he produces in his larynx. Where is the greatest human perfection to be found today? In that which gives man the possibility of calling himself an 'I'. This is what sets him above the other beings of the Earth. Man is an individuality centred in the Ego and it is this individuality who passes from one incarnation to another. We can look back into a life which preceded the present life on Earth, then farther and farther back into the past, and we can also look forward into the future. Man passes on into his following incarnations with whatever he has made his own in his Ego. If any one of you could look back into your earlier incarnations you would find yourself incarnated, for example, in the Greco-Latin epoch, in the Egypto-Chaldean epoch, in the ancient Persian epoch, in the ancient Indian epoch, and so on. But the work accomplished by the human larynx is not in the same sense bound up with the Ego. What the larynx can do comes to expression in each incarnation in a different form of speech; man does not carry it with him from one incarnation to another. Speech is not something that is individualised today. In the course of incarnations a man may belong to different peoples and use different languages, different linguistic idioms. It is therefore clear that speech is not so intimately bound up with the Ego as thinking is. Speech is not bound up with our true individuality, with that which constitutes our real human worth. Speech is something we have in common with other human beings; it comes to us from conditions outside. Nevertheless there is no denying that speech is something in which our inmost self, the spirit, expresses itself. The quality of feelings and the configuration of thoughts are carried into the sounds of the words; so that we possess in our larynx an organ through which, with our individuality, we are part and parcel of something wrought by the spirit, but not of something we have ourselves wrought. If speech were not wrought by the spirit, the spirit of man could not express itself through that medium. If the larynx were unable to capture in song the tone imparted by the spirit, the human soul could not express itself through the medium of song. The larynx is an organ which brings to expression spiritual activities, but not individualised spiritual activities. The larynx reveals itself to the spiritual investigator as an organ through which man is membered into a group-soul which he cannot yet bring to the stage of individualisation; but the larynx is developing to the point where it will eventually be able to be a receptacle for a man's individual activities. In the future, man will so transform his larynx that through it he will be able to give expression to his own individual reality. That is only a prophetic indication of a process which we must call the formation of a germinal organ which will be transformed in the future. If we pay heed to this we shall find it comprehensible that as individuals we have no power over what our larynx produces, that it is given to us by grace and that we must first grow into it with our individuality. Just as with our own Egohood we are rooted in ourselves, so with our larynx we are rooted in the Macrocosm as a whole. Out of the Macrocosm there still flows into us that which makes us human.” — Rudolf Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), lecture 11, GA 119.
Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch "Daily Quotes" page.
Is there any valid basis for Waldorf education? The answer, I'm afraid, is no. Steiner said that Waldorf education is based on Anthroposophy (his occult body of teachings, which he also called "spiritual science"), and he said that we have reliable spiritual science only because superhuman beings — such as supermen from Vulcan — are bringing us messages from the spirit realm. This is an astonishingly weak foundation on which to build anything. Perhaps there is a spirit realm. Perhaps superhumans visit the Earth all the time. But there is no Vulcan. Hence there are no Vulcan supermen bringing us messages. If Anthroposophy depends on the reality of Vulcan supermen, then there is no basis for Anthroposophy, meaning there is no basis for Waldorf education.
What we are discussing here is extremely weird and complicated, I know. But I am not making it up. These are Steiner's own teachings.
Let's take it a step at a time.
Vulcan is a hypothetical planet, nearer to the Sun than Mercury. Scientists once believed that such a planet existed, but they discarded the idea long ago. We know today that there is no Vulcan. But Vulcan looms large in Steiner's teachings. [See “Vulcan”.]
Here is a brief statement of Steiner’s teachings about Vulcan and its connection to spiritual science: “Vulcan beings are now actually entering this earth existence ... And it is thanks to the fact that these beings from beyond the earth are bringing messages down into this earthly existence that it is possible at all to have a comprehensive spiritual science today ... The beings I have spoken about will descend gradually to the earth. Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen, Venus supermen, Mercury supermen, sun supermen, and so on will unite themselves with earth existence.” — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 261...
OK? Steiner says that Vulcan, in some sense, exists. And beings from Vulcan are coming to Earth, bringing us the messages upon which spiritual science stands.
You may already get the drift: Steiner's doctrines are loco. But let's slow down even further to give the guy a chance. Here is the same quotation again, this time given at length. Steiner seems to say that Vulcan exists in the solar system today, perhaps not as a planet but as a “sphere” (a term he used to denote the area of the solar system bounded by the orbit of a planet). This gets a bit confusing, since the “sphere” of Vulcan would be the area bounded by the orbit of the planet Vulcan — but does Vulcan exist as a planet? And, come to that, do the planets orbit the Sun? Steiner sometimes said that they do but he also sometimes said that they don’t. [See “Deception”.]
Be all that as it may, here’s what Steiner said about "Vulcan men" and "Vulcan supermen." Background: At an early stage of life on Earth, human souls fled to the other planets. (Didn’t they teach you this in school?) Then, during the age of Atlantis, these souls returned to Earth — they came from planets such as Saturn, Mars, and Vulcan (see the reference, below, to “Vulcan-men”). Moreover, Steiner said that “Vulcan Beings” or “’Supermen’ of Vulcan” are coming to Earth today. Where are they coming from? Vulcan. 
I turn the microphone over to R. Steiner:
“Whereas in ancient Atlantean times [i.e., while we lived on Atlantis] these human beings descended to earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the other planets — and it was therefore a matter of human soul beings entering the earth existence then — now a time is beginning when beings who are not human are coming down to earth from cosmic regions beyond. These beings are not human but depend for the further development of their existence on coming to earth and on entering here into relationships with men. 
“Thus, since the eighties of the nineteenth century, heavenly beings are seeking to enter this earth existence. Just as the Vulcan men were the last to come down to earth, so Vulcan beings are now actually entering this earth existence. Heavenly beings are already here in our earth existence. And it is thanks to the fact that beings from beyond the earth are bringing messages down into this earthly existence that it is possible at all to have a comprehensive spiritual science today. 
“Taken as a whole, however, how does the human race behave? If I may say so, the human race behaves in a cosmically rude way toward the beings who are appearing from the cosmos on earth, albeit, to begin with, only slowly. Humanity takes no notice of them, ignores them. It is this that will lead the earth into increasingly tragic conditions. For in the course of the next few centuries, more and more spirit beings will move among us whose language we ought to understand. We shall understand it only if we seek to comprehend what comes from them, namely, the contents of spiritual science. This is what they wish to bestow on us. They want us to act according to spiritual science; they want this spiritual science to be translated into social action and the conduct of earthly life. 
“Since the last third of the nineteenth century, we are actually dealing with the influx of spirit beings from the universe. Initially, these were beings dwelling in the sphere between moon and Mercury, but they are closing in upon earth, so to say, seeking to gain a foothold in earthly life through human beings imbuing themselves with thoughts of spiritual beings in the cosmos. This is another way of describing what I outlined earlier when I said that we must call our shadowy intellect to life with the pictures of spiritual science. That is the abstract way of describing it. The description is concrete when we say: Spirit beings are seeking to come down into earth existence and must be received. Upheaval upon upheaval will ensue, and earth existence will at length arrive at social chaos if these beings descended and human existence were to consist only of opposition against them. For these beings wish to be nothing less than the advance guard of what will happen to earth existence when the moon reunites once again with earth. 
“Nowadays it may appear comparatively harmless to people when they think only those automatic, lifeless thoughts that arise through comprehension of the mineral world itself and the mineral element's effects in plant, animal, and man. Yes, indeed, people revel in these thoughts; as materialists, they feel good about them, for only such thoughts are conceived today. But imagine that people were to continue thinking in this way, unfolding nothing but such thoughts until the eighth millennium when moon existence will once more unite with the life of the earth. What would come about then? The beings I have spoken about will descend gradually to the earth. Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen, Venus supermen, Mercury supermen, sun supermen, and so on will unite themselves with earth existence. Yet, if human beings persist in their opposition to them, this earth existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.” — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 14, GA 204. 
Rudolf Steiner’s teachings, Anthroposophy, represent his version of Theosophy. Both Theosophists and Anthroposophists call their systems “spiritual science” — that is, they claim to present verifiable, objective information about the spirit realm. According to Steiner, spiritual science is possible only because beings such as the superhuman beings of Vulcan are bringing us messages. If this impresses you, you may be ripe for joining Steiner’s cult. Otherwise, you may agree with me that Steiner’s statement reveals the complete falsehood of Anthroposophy. There is no Vulcan, hence there are no “Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen” coming to Earth. By extension, then, there is no basis for “spiritual science” — aka, Anthroposophy. And, since Anthroposophy is the basis of Waldorf education, there is no valid basis for Waldorf education. QED.
(Oh, OK, I know. It is probably unfair to totally blow off Waldorf education because Steiner said completely nutty things about Vulcan. But you get the drift. Would you send your child to a school run by people who do not understand that Steiner said totally nutty things about Vulcan and almost everything else?)
P.S. Steiner tries to scare us. He sometimes resorted to fire-and-brimstone railings, and he does that here. If we don’t believe him about “Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen” and all the rest, “this earth existence will pass over into chaos.” I’m not worried. Are you?
The real danger that Waldorf schools represent is that people will slip back into medieval superstition and ignorance. For this is what “spiritual science” is. Steiner spun grotesque, stupid fantasies — and some people believe him. That’s their right. But don’t let them “educate” your child.
 Reading Steiner is a bit like having a root canal. I will do my best to ease the pain by providing paragraph-by-paragraph paraphrases. I will also toss in some supplementary info.
 The third phase of our evolution on Earth occurred on the continent of Lemuria. Things got dicey during our Lemuria years, so most humans fled to other planets. After Lemuria sank, the survivors moved to Atlantis, and — thinking things were getting better — the humans who had gone to other planets returned to Earth. We now live in the post-Atlantis period, and now superhuman beings are coming from the various planets to the Earth. They are doing this because they need to do so in order to evolve to yet higher states of divinity — by entering into relationships with Earth humans, they will improve themselves.
 Since the 1890s, superhuman beings have been coming to Earth from the heavens. Back during the Atlantis period, humans who had gone to Vulcan were the first returnees among the humans who had fled the Earth. Likewise, in more recent times Vulcan super-humans were the first heavenly beings to come down to the Earth. Various heavenly beings (superhumans) are already here on Earth, and it is because they have brought us messages from the spirit realm that today we can have “spiritual science” — that is, Anthroposophy, the objective “science” that describes the spirit realm.
 Sadly, most humans have been rude to the superhuman visitors. Mainly, people have ignored these wondrous visitors. This will lead to tragedy for the human race. More and more superhumans are coming down, bringing us the knowledge contained in spiritual science (i.e., Rudolf Steiner’s teachings). The superhumans want us to accept spiritual science (i.e., Rudolf Steiner’s teachings). If we don’t, woe betide.
 Since about 1860, there has been a large influx of superhumans from the planets to Earth. (Technically, the superhumans come from the “spheres” of the planets, not the planets themselves. For instance, the sphere of Mars encompasses all of the solar system within the orbit of Mars. The spheres of some other planets, such as Venus, exist within the Mars sphere, just as the Mars sphere exists within other, larger spheres, such as the Saturn sphere.) The first superhumans to descend, as we said before, came from the Vulcan sphere (i.e., the sphere of the planet inside the orbit of Mercury [see "Supermen"]). Superhumans gain a foothold on Earth by being received into the thoughts of the good people who do not rudely ignore them. The good people (spiritual scientists, i.e., Rudolf Steiner’s followers) transcend “shadowy intellect” to create images (or “imaginations”) or pictures of the spirit realm. This is a bit vague, but to be clear: Superhuman spiritual beings are coming to Earth and we must receive them. If not, there will be BIG trouble. These superhuman beings are preparing the way for our future evolution, when the Moon will merge into the Earth. If we ignore them (i.e., if we ignore Rudolf Steiner), woe betide.
 People nowadays — “modern” types — think in a dead way; they think with their physical (mineral) brains. (Contrast this with the spiritual “imaginations” of Anthroposophists.) People nowadays are materialists who think materialistically (i.e., with their brains), and they actually revel in such thinking. (Woe betide.) If people keep thinking in this dead, brainy way, there will be hell to pay when the Moon reunites with the Earth. The superhumans from Vulcan, Venus, the Sun, etc., will have come down and united themselves with the Earth. If we still rudely ignore them, the Earth will be plunged into chaos lasting thousands of years. (And won’t you be sorry then, all you rude jerks who didn’t listen to Steiner?)
The following are also from Daily Quotes:
Short form: “[T]here exists an unbroken connection between the planets. The Moon is connected with the Earth in the same way that, for instance, Berlin and Hamburg are connected by the telephone. Beings who live on the Moon can carry out their operations on the Earth using this celestial connection. Malevolent Moon beings have their counterparts in other beings who also exist in the celestial world — beneficent beings who are much, much sweeter than the sweetest Earthly beings ... These good beings are spiritually connected to us here on Earth, but they have their actual existence on another planet ... [T]hese sweet beings inhabit Mars and are in fact the main population of that planet ... If we look still higher in the heavenly spheres, we find other beneficent beings who have a mild, peaceable nature; and these beings are extraordinarily clever. These beings of the celestial spheres have their actual home on the planet Venus ... But on Venus we also find a second kind of beings who (unlike the gentle, amiable Venusians) embody a wild and furious vitality. Their chief activities are mutual fighting and plunder.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS UPON MAN, lecture 1, GA 102 [revised translation 2011 by Roger Rawlings].
Long form: “As soon as we speak from the aspect of the higher worlds, there exists an unbroken connection between the different planets and so the moon is connected with the earth just as for instance Berlin and Hamburg are connected by the telephone. Beings that live on the moon can therefore carry out their operations on the earth with the aid of astral forces. One might call them the reverse side of other beings whom we also find in the astral world, beneficent beings who, compared even with the mildest human nature, are yet much, much milder — in their speech too, very mild and gentle. The speech of these beings has not that aridity of human language which a man must ponder over a long time if he is to express himself, and clothe his thoughts and ideas in words. One could say that the thoughts of these beings flow from their lips — not merely the expression of the thoughts in words, but thoughts themselves flow in a gentle language from their lips. These beings are likewise to be found within our astral world; they have their actual scene of action on another planet. As the first-named beings are at home on the moon, these second are at home on Mars, they inhabit Mars and are in fact the main population — as certain human races are the principal population on our earth. If we then mount up higher to the devachanic plane we find certain beings who in their own way are also of a mild, peaceable nature and who in a certain respect are extraordinarily clever. These beings to be found on the devachanic plane have their actual home on the planet Venus, as the other beings on moon and Mars. On Venus too we find yet a second species of beings who — in contrast to the gentle, amiable kind — present a wild and furious vitality, and whose principal occupation consists in mutual fighting and plunder.
“Again we find on the higher parts of the devachanic plane certain beings who are very difficult to describe. We can only do so comparatively by saying that they are infinitely inventive: at every moment of life they devise something — for it would be false to say that they think it out. Their inventive gift is rather as if one were to look at something and at the same instant — even in the beholding — one had the impression of how one could form it differently. Invention comes to them spontaneously. These beings, who have their home on Saturn, are again confronted by others who seem to be their reverse side; savage, horrible beings who possess to an infinitely higher, more frightful degree all that lives in man as wild, sensual greed and inordinate desire.
“Now all these beings who have been mentioned are by no means unconnected with our existence. Their deeds, activities, manifestations, are definitely extended into our life and their action is particularly to be traced by clairvoyance when certain conditions appear on earth. Thus the beings who — naturally as astral beings — are at home on the moon are present on earth in the most varied circumstances, when for instance a man falls a prey to illusionary ideas, or where insane people are gathered. Such astral beings show special preference for the neighborhood of insane asylums. They are, moreover, almost always to be found near mediums and somnambulists; these persons have such beings swirling round them, and a large proportion of the influences that are exercised upon them is derived from the presence of these creatures. Where on the other hand love and kindliness prevail, where humanitarianism is unfolded, there you find the mild, gentle Mars beings present as astral creations, taking part in the forces which are there at work. That is nourishment for them, the atmosphere in which they can live and whence they exercise their influence on man.
“Whenever human discoveries are made, where engineers are at work, in technical workshops, there the atmosphere is created for the inventive Saturn beings. On the other hand where some sort of activity is developed which has to do with presence of mind, beings are there who have their seat on Venus.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS UPON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 1, GA 102 [unknown translator].
"At that time [i.e., the beginning of Earthly evolution] the Moon-men were the human forefathers, standing between present-day man and present-day animals ... Present-day animals are Moon-men descended to a lower level and human beings are Moon-men who have ascended higher.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 24, GA 93a.
“You will remember the passage in the book OCCULT SCIENCE dealing with the time when the human souls ascended to the planets and afterwards descended once more to earth-existence. I spoke of how the Mars-men, the Jupiter-men and the others descended again to earth. Now an event of great significance came to pass at the end of the seventies of last century [i.e., the 1870’s]. It is an event that can be described only in the light of facts which are revealed to us in the spiritual world. Whereas in the days of old Atlantis human beings came down to the earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on — that is to say, beings of soul were drawn into the realm of earth-existence — since the end of the seventies of last century, other Beings — not of the human order — have been descending to the earth for the purposes of their further development. From cosmic realms beyond the earth they come down to the earth and enter into a definite relationship with human beings. Since the eighties of the nineteenth century, super-earthly Beings have been seeking to enter the sphere of earth-existence. Just as the Vulcan-men were the last to come down to the earth so now Vulcan Beings are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science [i.e., Anthroposophy] at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence.” — Rudolf Steiner, “A Picture of Earth-Evolution in the Future” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1960), a lecture, GA 204. Steiner gives us plenty to chew on, here. Among other things, note that Steiner treats Vulcan as a real planet, a place people went to and returned from. For more on this, see "Vulcan".
“Those Beings who at that time partly went through their human stage, who had to accomplish only part of their human evolution during their earth-existence, are those beings I have identified as the great primeval Teachers of humanity on earth, and who today find themselves in a colony on the moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, MYSTERY CENTRES (Garber Communications, 1985), lecture 9, GA 232.
In Anthroposophy, "human" is an evolutionary stage that various kinds of spiritual beings pass through. We are passing through our own human stage now, and we hope to become superhuman in the future; others were human before us, and they are already superhuman. Some of those beings — more advanced than ourselves — served as our teachers early in our lives on Earth. They have now moved to the Moon. Therefore, “[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon ... This is only one of the 'cities' in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many ... As far as what concerns ourselves, as humanity on earth, the other pole, the opposite extreme to the moon is the population of Saturn.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 93.
“In the Mars region the human being lives among the ‘population’ of Mars — if I may so express myself. The inhabitants of Mars are discovered to be either discarnate human souls or Beings of the Hierarchies [i.e., gods].” — Rudolf Steiner, SUPERSENSIBLE MAN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1961), lecture 4, GA 231.
“What takes place on the other planets cannot be discovered merely by thinking. One cannot for example experience what is taking place on the Sun or Venus if one is unable to transfer one's consciousness into the life and functioning of a colony of bees. The bee has not gone through the whole course of evolution as we have. From the outset it has not been connected with the same evolutionary sequence as the other animals and man. The consciousness of the beehive, not of the single bee, is immensely lofty. The wisdom of this consciousness will only be attained by man in the Venus existence.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 4, GA 93a.
“Asuras are spirits of the very greatest egoism who remained behind during Saturn evolution. They want to condense matter and compress it ever more so that it can't be spiritualized and brought back to its original condition. They're the dregs of the planetary evolution that goes form Saturn to Vulcan. The asuras inhabit the moon and from there they work on the men whom they want to drag down into the eighth sphere and thereby tear away from progressive evolution and its goal — the Christ. All those who strive towards the eighth sphere will eventually live on a moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266. For more on Asuras, see “Evil Ones”. To examine the eighth sphere, see "Sphere 8". Concerning the lunar fate of evil beings, Steiner tells us the following will happen during the next major stage of evolution, when we will live on or during "Venus": “During [the Venus] state a special cosmic body splits 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 6, GA 13.
When mulling over these matters, it is well to remember that at one time most of humanity
migrated to other planets. This happened some time ago, when conditions in the solar system
were different from what we observe today. But, in a larger context, it happened fairly recently —
after the planets had become distinct, individual bodies, although before the Moon
separated from the Earth.
“[T]he great majority of human souls had to relinquish their union with the earth. Here we come to something of great importance in the relationship between man and earth, something which happened during the time between the separation of the sun and that of the moon. During this interval human soul-spirits, except for a very small number, abandoned earthly conditions, and pressing upward into higher regions, continued their evolution upon the several planets belonging to our solar system, each according to the stage of his development. Some souls were fitted to pursue their evolution on Saturn, others on Mars, others again on Mercury, and so on. Only a very small number of the strongest soul-spirits remained in union with the earth. During this time the rest dwelt upon the earth's planetary neighbours. This came about at a time preceding (to use our own terminology) the Lemurian age.” — Rudolf Steiner, GENESIS: Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1959), lecture 9, GA 122.
For more on these and related matters,
see "Fantasy Flights".
[R. R., 2014.]
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.
PLANETS, PLANETARY STAGES