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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.

[See "Planets".]


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:


◊ 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:


◊ 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:


◊ 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:


◊ 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

“Let us again call to mind that, in 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 [i.e., we had preliminary versions of such 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.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1948), p. 66.

As members of the Polarian Race, we incarnated only to a very thin and insubstantial degree; we were primarily etheric bodies: 

90) [Polarians: Us

“In the so-called Polarian Race...the etheric body was the most important. Man's whole body [i.e., the combination of our various bodies] at that time consisted of fine etheric substance. Only later did the etheric body densify by permeating itself with physical matter ... [During the Polarian Epoch] man was not fettered to the ground as he is today. He hovered through the etheric earth, and his organs, too, were etheric.’” — Rudolf Steiner, “(On) Apocalyptic Writings” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), a lecture, GA unestablished. 

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, 


(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:

“One must imagine the perceptual world [i.e., the world that could be apprehended during the Hyperborean Epoch] of these ancestors of man [i.e., ourselves, before we became human] to have been a quite general and indefinite one. Only two of the types of perception of today had already become separated: the sense of hearing and the sense of touch. Because of the changes that had taken place in the body as well as in the physical environment, the entire human form was no longer capable of being, in a manner of speaking, an 'ear'. A special part of the body remained capable of reverberating to delicate vibrations. It furnished the material from which our organ of hearing gradually developed. However, approximately the whole remainder of the body continued to be the organ of touch.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), p. 114.

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. [1] 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. [2]. At that point man had arisen once more out of the earliest germ [3] which comprised physical, etheric, and astral bodies [4]; 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 [5]. This period of Earth evolution, which man experienced in common with his planet, is usually called in the literature of spiritual science [6], 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".] 

Sometimes Steiner was slightly more forthcoming about at least some aspects of Polarian life. "The Polarian human beings were very similar to four-footed animals, but they were formed out of a soft, pliant substance similar to a jellyfish, but much warmer.  — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 23, GA 93a.

Here is an elaboration by a Waldorf teacher: "In the Polaris state [7] the solar system is [i.e., was] still a homogenous unity [8] ... There is transformed warmth from [Old Saturn], providing the basis for the [future] physical body of man [9] ... There is life force [10] and something akin to light ... [T]here is astral substance [11], which, taken into the human being, gives him the ability to have external and internal experiences ... One might imagine the substance of Polaris as refined ether [12] surrounded by an astral atmosphere. [13] In this atmosphere are the souls of human beings [in a form not yet differentiated one from another] ... Our present Saturn comes into existence. [14]" — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 96-97.

[1] 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".][2] 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.)
[3] I.e., germinal or embryonic condition. (We arose "once more" because we incarnate and reincarnate many times as evolution progresses. When the Polarian Epoch began, we had evolved to a point where our germinal condition included early versions of the physical, etheric, and astral bodies.)
[4] I.e., man incarnated as a physical, etheric, and astray being — but he did not yet have an "I." [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]
[5] The Earth was very different then (it still contained the Sun and Moon), and consequently our form was very different then.[6] As Steiner used the term, "spiritual science" is essentially Anthroposophy, which Steiner said enables practitioners to scientifically study the spirit realm.
[7] I.e., during the Polarian Epoch.
[8] I.e., no planets or other bodies had yet separated from the others.
[9] Old Saturn was our first condition of consciousness, the first incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Saturn".] Steiner taught that it was largely composed of a form of spiritual warmth, analogous to the warmth of blood.[10] See the entry for "life force" in this encyclopedia.
[11] I.e., essence from the astral plane or soul world. [See "Higher Worlds".]
[12] See the entry for "ether" in this encyclopedia.
[13] I.e., an "atmosphere" such as is found in the soul world.
[14] I.e., the planet Saturn separated from the "homogenous unity."
[15] According to Steiner, the largest phases of cosmic evolution are generally called conditions of consciousness. Each condition of consciousness (which is a new incarnation of the solar system) consists of seven periods generally called conditions of life. Each condition of life consists of seven periods generally called stages of form. Each stage of form consists of seven periods generally called great epochs. The Polarian Epoch was the first great epoch of the fourth stage of form (the Physical Stage) within the fourth condition of life (the Mineral Kingdom)  within the fourth condition of consciousness (Present Earth). The planet Earth is the physical orb on which we now live; Present Earth is our current evolutionary mega-stage.

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. 
[See "Early Earth".] 
Man was not yet physical, as we understand this term. Indeed, all conditions during the Hyperborean period are extremely difficult to describe in language that makes sense to us now. The Earth — growing denser, but not yet fully material or physical as we understand this concept — was the scene of action for spirit beings, only some of whom would become the creatures we find on Earth now. The line between divine and human was less clear then, and the beings who were "men" were not ourselves as we understand ourselves now. “During the Age which preceded the Lemurian Age, we have the Hyperborean Age on the Earth, that of the Sun Men, of the Apollo-Men [1] ... [T]he Hyperboreans lived in their soft forms, [and] these Sons of the Sun [2] were in position to incarnate and they formed a particularly beautiful Race. They were the Solar Pitris. [3] Already in the Hyperborean Epoch they created for themselves an upright form ... In the Hyperborean Epoch the Solar Pitris became the beautiful Apollo-men....” — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 23, GA 93a. 

"[T]he human being of this age [i.e., the Hyperborean] had no rigid form but was pliable and adaptable ... Also existing in this sphere are [i.e., were] certain beings who [had] not yet wholly completed the past stages of their evolution ... There are also higher beings who find they can no longer exert the desired influence in this denser matter and they leave. [4] Their departure ultimately results in the formation of the present Sun ... [A] rhythm is established for the soul to be in the body for a certain time and then outside [it]. This is the beginning of day and night experience [5] ... The outside planets of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars have become independent [6] ... Venus and Mercury [separate] as habitations for beings at intermediate stages [of spiritual evolution]. Remaining is an Earth-Moon planet [7] in which the forms of life become more and more differentiated ... Man's body has a substantiality almost like air." — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 97-98.

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. 

[1] i.e., semi-humans having spiritual ties with Old Sun, the second incarnation of the solar system or the second condition of consciousness. [See "Old Sun".]

[2] Later to be known as gods of the Sun: Solar Pitris.

[3] See "Polytheism".

[4] I.e., certain spirits who found conditions on the densifying Earth uncongenial left the Earth. They were responsible for creating the Sun as we know it now.

[5] Steiner taught the soul leaves the body and travels to the spirit realm at various times, such as after death and (generally) at night.

[6] I.e., they have separated from the general, unified core of the solar system.

[7] The Moon had not yet separated from the Earth.

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. 

91a) "Not till the Vulcan period [i.e., Future Vulcan], after the Jupiter and Venus evolutions [i.e., Future Jupiter and Future Venus] are completed, will the Ego [the "I"] be formed [i.e., fully, truly formed].” — R. Steiner, THE FORMING OF DESTINY AND LIFE AFTER DEATH (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1927), lecture 3, GA 157a.

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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