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The connection between planetary conditions such as Old Sun and the present-day members of our solar system may seem less than crystal-clear. Steiner liked to keep things vague; he liked to speak and write mystically, as he presumably thought an occult master should.
In some instances, according to Steiner, the orbs in our present solar system (the "planets" we see overhead, including the Sun and Moon) are evolutionary descendants of their ancient namesakes (Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon). In other cases, today's planets are predecessors of their future namesakes (Future Jupiter, Future Venus, Future Vulcan). But some planets existing now — Mars, Mercury — have no such namesakes, past or future. They trace their lineages elsewhere/elsewhen. As for Uranus and Neptune, Steiner denied that they are really members of our solar system. Thus, he had little to say about them as orbs existing today, and there are no Uranian or Neptunian planetary conditions in our evolution.
Even if we set all that aside and just consider the planets in our sky as they exist now, there is nothing simple about them, as Steiner defined these things. Here are a few indications. [For more, see "Planets", "Planetary Humans", and "Planetary Spirits".]
58) [Luciferland] Venus, for instance, is a husk tossed off by Lucifer.
59) [Marsworld, Moonville] Mars is an inhabited planet. Steiner said that Mars is a warlike place, yet he said that some Martians are...
“...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 ... [T]hey inhabit Mars and are in fact the main population — as certain human races are the principal population on our earth ... [Where] love and kindliness prevail, where humanitarianism is unfolded, there you find the mild, gentle Mars beings present [i.e., the influences of Martians extend down to us] ... [T]he preponderance of moon beings or Mars beings...circling through a man gives his lymph its special character [i.e., inhabitants of Mars and the Moon actually enter our bodily constitutions]. If more moon beings circulate through his body he is a man who inclines more easily to wrong-doing [sic], irritation, and anger, if more Mars beings, then he is a man who is more inclined to gentleness, kindliness, mildness.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS, lecture 10, GA 354.
60) [Vulcan In the Sky, By and By] Steiner generally affirmed the occultist belief that our solar system includes a hidden planet: Vulcan. Some astrologers contend that Vulcan is actually Mercury, but others say that Vulcan is a separate planet, orbiting the Sun more closely than Mercury itself does. Astronomers have never seen Vulcan, and they point out that there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of Vulcan, but occultists counter than of course Vulcan hasn't been seen: It hides behind Mercury, or behind the Sun, or it is lost in the glare of the Sun. In any case, Vulcan is quite real. Moreover, according to Steiner, Vulcan's namesake — Future Vulcan — will become our final evolutionary stage (unless other, hidden stages follow it).
By any measure, Vulcan is a fascinating place. According to Steiner, humans dispersed to the various planets at one stage in our history, and some went to Vulcan. Later the people who went to planet Vulcan returned to planet Earth. And native Vulcan beings (nonhuman occupants of Vulcan) have come to planet Earth as well.
There is much to absorb, here. But perhaps the most important, from an Anthroposophical perspective, is recognition of the danger that human and Earthly evolution may come to an end — the divine cosmic plan of the gods may be subverted — if we don't end our opposition to the "Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun." In that case, the winnowing process Steiner described as central to evolution [see, e.g., quote #57, above], could cause all of humanity to be winnowed out. We would all fail to evolve properly, and our story would "pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years." In a sense, we would all fall into the Eighth Sphere. [See "Eighth Sphere".]
60a) [Planets, As It Were] Steiner tried to clarify the relationship between planetary conditions and planets, thus:
[For more on the planets as planets, see "Planets". For more on the planetary conditions of our evolution, see, e.g., "Everything" and "Matters of Form".]
* As usual, Steiner was being mystical and potentially confusing, here. If we take his interjected explanation ("that is to say...") to mean that human souls went to the soul regions controlled by planetary forces (the "spheres" of the various planets) before resuming life in the spiritual "realm of earth existence," then we may think he did not mean that humans went from Earth to other planets. But actually, he did. Each physical planet, in his teachings, is also a spiritual realm — because everything physical is essentially spiritual, more or less, in general. But the planets do exist as physical locations, in the solar system here and now, and they existed in all of the earlier phases of the Present Earth stage of evolution (albeit they existed then in different form than they embody today). Indeed, the physical existence of the planets is necessary for the existence of the "spheres" of the planets as described by Steiner. In Steiner's teachings, a planet's "sphere" is the region of the solar system inside that planet's orbit: this is the region of the solar system under the spiritual/astrological influence of that planet. [See "Higher Worlds".] So, traveling in any sense from Earth to a planet or to the sphere of that planet means, in a basic sense, going to the part of the solar system occupied or controlled by that planet — as a spiritual entity but also as a physical entity. (All of this is complicated by Steiner's self-contradictions about planetary orbits. Sometimes he said that planets orbit the Sun, sometimes he said they don't. [See "Deception".] But either way, he meant planets that have physical existence in the solar system.) In short, going to soul regions controlled by planetary forces (planetary “spheres”) means going to the planets as spiritual, astrological, but also physical presences in our solar system. Going "to the planets" means much the same. "[W]hen the human souls ascended to the planets,” they were going to locations in our solar system — spiritual/astrological/physical locations, in the solar system.
[Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS
(Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 168.]
Sometimes when he spoke of "planets," Steiner meant planetary stages,
and sometimes he meant planets per se (which he sometimes said do not orbit the Sun).
The distinction is not always as clear as it might be.
[For a look at how this all plays out in Waldorf schools, see "Oh My Stars".]
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