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Do not confuse Present Earth with Earth.
Present Earth is a period in time;
Earth is a planet, the place where we live.
To remind you: 1) During the Old Saturn stage of evolution, we had been eggs of warmth, beings who were essentially at the mineral level of development. 2) During Old Sun, we became airy plant-like beings. 3) During Old Moon, we were soft-boned, gliding, leaping, animalish creatures.
Old Moon then winked out of physical existence, taking us with it. We rested up (pralaya), getting ready for our next manifestation, one that will seem a bit more familiar: We came to Earth (i.e., the incorporeal solar system reemerged into a new form of physical manifestation, and as before we were part of this): We entered the period of evolution called Present Earth.
Here is an approximate overview of past and future, in diagrammatic form. The largest stages of our evolution are the Conditions of Consciousness, starting with Old Saturn. Each of these stages (also capped "Planetary Conditions") is an incarnation of the entire solar system:
SEVEN CONDITIONS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
or PLANETARY CONDITIONS:
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 ◊....
Having evolved through Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, we are now alive in the evolutionary period called Present Earth. Like other stages of evolution, Present Earth consists of seven sub-stages, which may be referred to as Conditions of Life:
SEVEN CONDITIONS OF LIFE
◊ 1st Elementary Kingdom ◊ ◊ 7. Human Kingdom ◊......
◊ 2nd Elementary Kingdom ◊ ◊ 6. Animal Kingdom ◊
◊ 3rd Elementary Kingdom ◊ ◊ 5. Plant Kingdom ◊
◊ 4. Mineral Kingdom ◊
We have evolved through the first three Conditions of Life; we are now in the Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life within Present Earth. Like all the other sub-stages in the pattern of evolution, The Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life consists of seven sub-sub-stages, which may be referred to as Stages of Form:
SEVEN STAGES OF FORM
◊ 1. Higher Spiritland ◊ ◊ 7. Archetypal Stage ◊
◊ 2. Lower Spiritland ◊ ◊ 6. Intellectual Stage ◊
◊ 3. Astral Stage ◊ ◊ 5. Perfected Astral ◊
◊ 4. Physical Stage ◊....
Having evolved through three of the Stages of Form in the Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life, we are now living in the Physical Stage of Form. Within this Stage of Form, we will evolve through seven Great Epochs:
SEVEN GREAT EPOCHS...
◊ 1. Polarian ◊ ◊ 7. Epoch of Trumpets ◊
◊ 2. Hyperborean ◊ ◊ 6. Epoch of Seals ◊
◊ 3. Lemurian ◊ ◊ 5. Post-Atlantean ◊
◊ 4. Atlantean ◊.......
The Polarian Epoch was the first of the Great Epochs of our existence "on" the Earth during the Physical Stage of Form in the Mineral Kingdom of Life during Present Earth; the Hyperborean Epoch was the second such Great Epoch; etc. We now exist in the fifth Great Epoch, the Post-Atlantean.
Let's review the Great Epochs that, in a sense, constitute our lives here on the planet Earth during the Present Earth Condition of Consciousness.
At the beginning of our lives here "on" the Earth during the Polarian Epoch, we were still far less than solid — we were not at all physical as we understand the term today. (Neither, for that matter, was the Earth.) Conditions then were still soft and fluid, and most phenomena of the solar system were still intermingled, so that the Sun and Moon, for instance, were still united with the Earth:
89) [Polarian Epoch]
As members of the Polarian Race, we incarnated only to a very thin and insubstantial degree; we were primarily etheric bodies:
90) [Polarians: Us]
Steiner had a disconcerting way of distancing himself from his own words, as when he referred to the “so-called Polarian race.” What he meant, usually, was that words can hardly describe the amazing things he told us about (in words). Anyway, we got more solidly physical during succeeding epochs, and eventually we manifested the “I”, our true human spiritual essence or ego:
91) [Self Am I] During Present Earth, we finally became human.* Prior to Present Earth, we had been working our way up toward human status — which is to say, we were evolving toward the time when we would acquire our I's. The I is a human being's fourth invisible body, higher than the astral body. It is sometimes called the ego body. It is the spark of divinity that gives each of us an individual, unique spiritual identity. You and you alone have your particular I; no one being has that unique, precious individual identity. It is you (in a sense); you are it (in a sense). Only you can say "I" about yourself.
No beings lower than ourselves possess I's. Animals don't have them, nor do plants nor minerals. But all beings above us have acquired I's in their own time, ahead of us. Those beings — gods — have evolved through their own human stages on their way toward still higher stages. The Spirits of Personality (gods three levels above us) gained their I's during Old Saturn; the Spirits of Fire (gods two levels above us) gained their I's during Old Sun; the Sons of Twilight (gods one level above us) gained their I's during Old Moon. While all of that was happening, we trailed behind, starting to develop our physical bodies during Old Saturn, our etheric bodies during Old Sun, and our astral bodies during Old Moon. Only during Present Earth would we, at long last, become sufficiently evolved to develop our I's. Only then would we be able to say,
“I am the self
the self am I,
the spirit in my heart
is the self.”
— from a Steiner-written meditation,
BREATHING THE SPIRIT
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 55.
92) [Hyperborea] The second phase of life on Earth was the Hyperborean Epoch. Like other epochs, it saw phenomena and capacities separating from one another. The Sun separated from the Earth during the Hyperborean Epoch. Equally important, human beings (who were not yet human, remember) gradually became more distinct and particularized — this was part of the process of individuation, the development of human selfhood. Previously, all parts of our bodies performed virtually all functions interchangeably; we did not have separate organs for separate functions. But, slowly, separate organs did form and our various senses started to become distinct from one another:
The Polarian and Hyperborean Epochs are hard to visualize. Here is how they are described in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia:
Polarian Epoch - also see astral plane; epochs; ether; Hyperborean Epoch; Old Saturn; Present Earth
According to Steiner — drawing from Theosophy — this was our first evolutionary stage on Earth, our first great epoch on the physical Earth as it exists within the current conditions of the solar system.  Steiner gave only brief and vague descriptions of that period. “[I]n the beginning of its development, our Earth was united with Sun and Moon. . At that point man had arisen once more out of the earliest germ  which comprised physical, etheric, and astral bodies ; he appeared, so to speak, in his first earthly form — the only one possible to him while the Earth still contained both Sun and Moon . This period of Earth evolution, which man experienced in common with his planet, is usually called in the literature of spiritual science , the ‘Polarian’ period. It would lead too far to explain today why this period is called ‘Polarian’; meanwhile let us simply accept the term.” — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1948), p. 66. [See "Early Earth".]
 Our current condition of consciousness, the current incarnation of the solar system, is called Present Earth. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia. Also see the Waldorf Watch page "Present Earth".] I.e., Earth, Sun, and Moon were a single body. (In its earliest incarnation, Steiner said, the entire solar system was a single body. Evolution has entailed the gradual splitting off of various parts from that original unity.)
Hyperborean Epoch - also see Earth; epochs; great epochs; Lemuria; Polarian Epoch; solar Pitris
According to Steiner — drawing from Theosophy — this was our second large evolutionary period of Present Earth, our second great epoch. It followed the Polarian Epoch and preceded the Lemurian Epoch.
The Polarian and Hyperborean Epochs may all be looked upon as the preparatory stages of Earthly evolution, leading to the Lemurian and Atlantean Epochs, which laid the basis for our current Post-Atlantean reality.
Our Earthly lives became a bit more recognizable in the two following epochs, the Lemurian and Atlantean. We will get to these in future installments of Steiner Static.
* Becoming fully human, attaining full possession of our I's, is a complex, lengthy process. According to Steiner, the ancient Norse god Thor has had a lot to do with fostering our I's. [See "The Gods".] But far more important has been Christ, the Sun God, who incarnated on Earth and gave us the impetus to develop our true human potential. We could not have true I's until He showed us the way. [See "Sun God".] The I is, in a sense, a gift from the Sun. In a perhaps less precise sense, the I comes to us from the "cosmic I," the I of the universe, the divinity that infuses and directs all. [See the entry for "I", in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
During our current period within Present Earth, we have I's — but we are not yet fully human: We have not yet reached the Human Kingdom of Present Earth. We are still terribly, densely physical — we are at the "mineral" level within Earth evolution. We must evolve considerably more before we reach the "human" level, the Human Kingdom. But bear in mind, we will not perfect ourselves in a higher sense until Future Vulcan. By then, we will be superhuman; only then will we fully comprehend (and thus fully possess) our I's. Our "higher I's" exist in the spirit realm; our "lower I's" are with us in our lives of incarnation. We will not truly be I's until we fully unite with our higher I's. We might call this the real formation of the spiritual ego or I.
During Earthly life for us now, in the Post-Atlantean Epoch, we posses I's or egos, to some degree. They incarnate at a particular stage of individual evolution or development in this life: at about age 21. The physical body incarnates at birth, Steiner said, the etheric body incarnates around age seven, the astral body incarnates at around age 14, and the I incarnates at around age 21. [See "Incarnation".]
Use this link to go to "Steiner Static, Part I",
or use the following link to go to "Steiner Static, Part II".
For more indications about Polaria and Hyperborea, see "Early Earth".
For information about our lives on Lemuria, see "Lemuria".
For similar information about Atlantis, see "Atlantis".
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