Steiner reworked most of the occult and mystical doctrines he adopted.
Thus, for instance, he rejected astrology — except that, having reworked it, he affirmed it.
He was not always consistent; some of his teachings contradict others.
But what can I say?
Here are some things you may not know about our relationships to the planets, the stars, the zodiac, and the gods.
“In time to come it will be realized that one need only regard the stars and their movements as a great celestial clock and human life as a rhythm which runs its own course but is in a certain sense determined by the stars.” — Rudolf Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 34.
“If we turn our attention to the ordering and outstreaming of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac as a cosmic script, and consider what radiating forces pour into human life from Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc., we are then thinking in the sense of forces which were Saturn forces. And if we try to bring personal karma into connection with the constellations which relate to the zodiacal signs, we are then living approximately in the sphere of that world-conception which must be employed for the laws of the ancient Saturn epoch.
“...Anyone who thought that Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc., made his destiny would be living under the same delusion as a man who had been sentenced by a certain legal passage and then conceived a special hatred of this paragraph in the law and believed that it had sent him to gaol. Just as little as a legal paragraph printed on the white page can sentence a man, can Aries, Taurus, or Gemini, bring about destiny. Yet one can read from the star-script the connection between the cosmos and human destiny. And thus we can say that what follows from the star script is a remainder of the ancient Saturn evolution, is indeed the ancient Saturn evolution become entirely spiritual, but leaving its signs behind in the star-script of the cosmos.” — Rudolf Steiner, "Perception of the Nature of Thought" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), a lecture, GA 161.
“[W]hich part of the human body is specially influenced by the stars? It is the astral body, gentlemen.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 14.
“Twice twelve heavenly constellations and four living creatures were once the regents of the world. Mighty cosmic powers ensouled the signs of the zodiac and the four living creatures. The twenty-four elders in the Apocalypse are the two times twelve stars on the world clock who were once rulers.” — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), lecture 1, GA 104a.
“Investigations are often made — unfortunately not always with the necessary respect and dignity — into the starry constellation prevailing at birth. Much less selfish and much more beautiful would be a horoscope, a planetary horoscope made for the moment of death. This is most revealing for the whole soul of the human being, for the entry into death at a particular moment is most revealing in connection with karma.” — Rudolf Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 186.*
“[I]n the Atlantean epoch man was the companion of Beings who as their densest form had only an etheric body. Those figures which have remained as a memory in the legends of various peoples, the figures of Zeus, Apollo, etc., were actual to the ancient Atlanteans; they dwelt with them during sleep. Such Beings were to be found everywhere who had not descended so far as to embodiment in the flesh.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (H. Collison, 1931), chapter 3, GA 105.
“The influence of the stars was justified in the Astrology of the third post-Atlantean epoch, for humanity then retained so much of the old ancestral spirituality that when men devoted their souls to the elements, they absorbed a good influence from the stars.
“During the fourth post-Atlantean epoch, the power of the stars receded....” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD AND THE SEARCH FOR THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008) p. 117.
“Changes on the earth are closely connected with certain constellations of the stars. This is a very significant fact." — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 50.
“[T]he planetary spirits projected themselves into the figures of Zeus, Ares, Hermes, Venus or Aphrodite, Kronos and so on ... The Greeks, we know, reverenced a variety of gods. These gods were the reflections or projections of the Beings who originated from the journey round the planets of the Being, permeated by the Christ, who later became the Nathan Jesus-child. The Greeks saw them in such a way that when they looked out into cosmic spaces, when they looked up through the light-aether, they rightly ascribed to the planet Jupiter — in an inward spiritual, not an external, sense — the origin of the Being they spoke of as Zeus. So they spoke of Pallas Athene, of Artemis, of the various planetary gods who were the reflections of what we have spoken about. But from these pictures of the various figures of the gods there emerged one figure — the figure of Apollo.” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), lecture 3, GA 149.
“Progressing to the formation of the human chest, we can arrive at an understanding of its form only when we can imagine how the human being lives on Earth, encircled by the stars of the zodiac.” — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (SteinerBooks, 1998), p. 258.
After death, man travels through the spheres of the planets. “During man's passage through the sphere of Mars he acquires conscious knowledge of the Beings who people this region. The spiritual population of Mars consists of Beings who are the Knowers of the Cosmic Speech. There are other Beings too, — for example. Beings who are warlike in nature. But so far as man is concerned, the most important Beings in the Mars sphere are those who in their whole nature are Cosmic Word. They are the Guardians of the Cosmic Speech.” — Rudolf Steiner, SUPERSENSIBLE MAN (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1961), lecture 4, GA 231.
“[I]n his passage through the cosmic colonies of Venus and Mercury he can, so to speak, arrange for his destiny to be brought as closely as possible into line with the outer experiences that must come to him through being born into a particular family and a particular nation.” — Rudolf Steiner, ibid.
“The human being was never on Mars, but his intellectual soul is connected esoterically with this planet ... [S]ince the physical vehicle of the [intellectual soul] is the warm blood (the Ares-blood of militant man), iron, which is a constituent of the blood, was added to the Earth ... Equally, the human being will never really inhabit Mercury, but...the leading beings [there] have supplied the human consciousness soul with forces from it.” — Rudolf Steiner, CORRESPONDENCE AND DOCUMENTS, 1901-1925 (SteinerBooks, 1988), pp. 71-72.
“[J]ust as the blood is driven up into the head by the moon, so today's volcanic eruptions are thrown up by the stars.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM MAMMOTHS TO MEDIUMS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 127.
“After death, when man goes farther and farther from the earth, he gradually comes to see the planets as well as the fixed stars 'from behind.' But there he does not see these points of light or surfaces of light which are seen from the earth. Rather does he see the spiritual — the corresponding spiritual Beings. On all sides it is a world of spiritual Beings. Wherever he looks back, whether it be towards Saturn, Sun or Moon, or towards Aries, Taurus and the other constellations, he sees from yonder side the spiritual Beings.
“But this seeing is at the same time a hearing; and when he says: — Man sees from the other side — or from behind — Moon, Venus, Aries, Taurus and so forth, we might equally well express it thus: — Man hears the Beings, who have their dwelling in these heavenly bodies, resounding forth into the cosmic spaces.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Speech and Song" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), a lecture, GA 283.
“[W]e can look up to the sun and say that when we stand here at a certain moment, the sun is between us and the constellation of Aries. That is the direction where these strong cosmic forces work from. It is not Aries itself, of course. This constellation merely indicates the direction where the strong forces come from. If a person is standing in a different place at that same time, he or she is affected as follows: When the sun has moved to that place, it is in Virgo, let us say. The forces coming from this direction are weaker. Instead of going through the entire process now, I can therefore say that when someone is born in an area where at a certain time, let's say at his birth, the sun is in Aries, that person will tend to use more consonants. However, when someone is born with the sun in Virgo, he will tend to use more vowels.
“...You see now that it is indeed mere superstition to say, ‘Whenever the sun is in Aries, such and such takes place.’ This kind of statement is not worth anything. However, if you understand the full context, the matter ceases to be superstition and becomes science instead. And that will lead us from understanding the transformation of substances to an understanding of what is really happening and its connection to the vast universe out there.” — Rudolf Steiner, LECTURES TO WORKERS - The Human Being in Body, Soul, and Spirit (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), lecture 1, GA 347.
“[E]everything Europe has experienced in relation to America and the whole earth has been under the influence of the stars.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM MAMMOTHS TO MEDIUMS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 125.
“Signs that had meaning for ancient clairvoyant consciousness have been handed down from olden times without being understood. For example, the sign of Aries was full of meaning and living content to the men of old; the sign did not apply to the constellation of Aries as such but indicated that the Sun or the Moon was standing in a certain relationship to this constellation, enabling certain forces to work in a definite way.” — Rudolf Steiner, "Calendar of the Soul" (transcript, Rudolf steiner Archive), a lecture, GA 143.
“Even when the earth was embodied as old Saturn, the forces issuing from these twelve directions were at work upon that ancient planet; so they were later on the old Sun, and on the old Moon, and are now and will continue to be in the future. Therefore they have as it were the nature of permanence, they are far more sublime than that which arises and passes away within our earth existence. That which is symbolised by the twelve signs of the Zodiac is infinitely higher than that which is transformed in the evolutionary course of our planet from old Saturn to old Sun and from that to old Moon and so on. Planetary existence arises and passes away, but the Zodiac is ever there. What is symbolised by the points of the Zodiac is more sublime than what upon our earth plays its part as the opposition between good and evil.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1940), chapter 9, GA 113.
“On the Sun was laid down the earliest beginnings of the Animal Kingdom ... [T]he animals were in the first place reflected Sun-images of the Zodiac. There is a real inner relation between the Zodiac and the animals which were coming into existence upon the Sun. Truly it is not for nothing, that such names have been given to those things. One must never think that in those ancient times names were chosen at random ... [I]n the names then given you could always find the deeper meaning of the thing itself ... The forms of our animals, even although to-day they are degenerated into caricatures, have been brought down from the encircling Universe, from the figures of the Zodiac, as they then existed.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1928), lecture 4, GA 110.
“The forces of the earth can mould only those parts [of the physical body] that are mostly round — in the abdomen, for example. Everything else is formed by the influence of the stars.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 49.
“When, therefore, you think of the whole Zodiac, you must picture that some of its forces are descending and some are ascending. We think of the forces which are now involved in the ascending line of evolution, collectively, as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra — because they actually belong to these constellations. These seven constellations comprise the ascending forces. The descending forces are comprised, approximately speaking, in the five constellations of Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces. Thus forces rain down from the Zodiac and ascend again: seven constellations of ascending, five of descending forces. The ascending forces also correspond, in man, to the higher members of his being, to his higher, nobler attributes. The forces which are in the descending phase of evolution have first to pass through man and within him to attain to the stage at which they too can become ascending forces.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 2, GA 102.
* “Not only is a birth horoscope significant but here Rudolf Steiner introduces the conventionally unfamiliar idea that we can equally study the horoscope for the moment of a person’s death, that this will reveal much about the significance of their life and what they are offering back to the spiritual world. Willi Sucher, a pioneer in the field of anthroposophical astrology, which he called astrosophy, made many such studies.” — Margaret Jonas, commentary in ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY, p. 185.
“It is in our will that our karmic intentions are stored, intentions which have been prepared during the long period between lifetimes in the company of the spiritual beings of planetary spheres and beyond. But can these intentions be read in a horoscope? Whilst criticizing the superficial nature of much astrology...he himself made use of horoscopes as we can see in the case of the ‘special needs’ children.” — Margaret Jonas, introduction to ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY, pp. 2-3.
— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings
Rudolf Steiner devised his own emblems for the signs of the zodiac.
Here is Sagittarius:
[R. R. sketches, 2009-2010, based on images in Rudolf Steiner, CALENDAR 1912-1913
(SteinerBooks, 2003), pp. 83ff., 79ff., and 40ff.]
For more of Steiner's astrological teachings, and for astrology in Waldorf schools,
see, e.g., "Waldorf Astrology"
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.