EIGHTH LETTER - November 1944
The Nature of the Planetary World
We have tried to create
up to this point a knowledge of the Zodiac. In this and the following
issues it will be our task to lay the foundation for an understanding
of the planetary world.
The world of the fixed stars,
which surrounds our solar system, is concentrated in the circle of the
Zodiac. There are many constellations outside the fixed-star Zodiac,
but all these groups of stars are somehow deeply related to the twelve
constellations of the Zodiac. We find, for instance, above the constellations
of Ram and Fishes those of Perseus, Andromeda, Cepheus, Cassiopeia,
and many others. If we penetrate more deeply into the spiritual background
of the myths connected with these constellations, we find they are an
expression of the same facts that appear in the constellations of Ram,
Fishes, etc. If we pass across the Zodiac and look at the constellations
above and below the familiar images of Bull, Twins, and Crab, we find
in them a kind of cosmic “commentary” on the twelvefold
Thus the world of the fixed
stars is represented by the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. This
twelvefoldness is the manifestation of space. There we find the facts
that led to the creation of our universe, which exists in space, and
also the archetypal image of the human form which on Earth manifests
itself in space.
In previous letters we described
the creation of this universe in space as the Ancient Saturn evolution.
We have not yet described those stages of evolution where this universe,
extending in space, was penetrated by the forces of life and consciousness.
This remains to be done in future issues. We did establish an outlook
into the creation of our universe from the point of view of space, and
this we connected with the twelvefold Zodiac.
We enter quite a different
world if we look at the planetary universe. There we are confronted
with a sevenfold relationship. In olden times human beings counted five
planets in addition to the Sun and Moon. This was the planetary world
that could be perceived with the naked eye. Today it no longer seems
to be sevenfold, because we have detected a few more planets —
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — with the help of the modern telescope.
It may happen in the future, with still mightier and stronger telescopes,
that many more planets will be detected belonging to our universe. Still,
we must bear in mind that all these planets, which were found with the
help of the telescope, are beyond the realm of the human universe, because
they cannot be seen by the unaided human organism. They can only be
seen through instruments, through a mechanismm — the telescope
— which as a machine is “beyond” human nature and
which belongs to a different world. As we are speaking here about the
relationship between the human being and the stars, we must limit our
outlook strictly to the limitations of the unaided human organization.
This does not prevent us from learning of the nature of those newly
discovered planets, but for such a knowledge we should have to enter
the world of the superhuman. In later issues we may have an opportunity
of doing this, but at present we want to keep within the boundaries
of the human realm.
We find a sevenfold planetary
world in connection with the human being. For the normally developed
human senses, without artificial means, seven heavenly bodies within
our solar universe are approachable, the planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars,
Venus, Mercury, and besides them, the bodies of the Sun and Moon.
Everything that appears
in the universe in connection with the number seven is an image of time.
Movement within time is evolution, that is to say creation in stages
or intervals. When we had to describe the evolution of Ancient Saturn,
we were forced to present it in a sevenfold aspect (the seven cycles
of Ancient Saturn), because that which was created could only be done
“in time”. However, the essence of this evolution, the archetypal
image of the human form, appears in “space” in the twelvefold
The sevenfold, as an image
of time, is also manifest in the seven days of the week. They are an
imagination of our whole world evolution, not only of Ancient Saturn
but also of past and future stages.
Why is sevenfoldness the
image of time? The fact that twelvefoldness, which is represented by
the Zodiac, is connected with space can be comprehended from a geometrical
point of view, because the circle is the form which has come to a rest
and has potentially the other geometrical forms of two-dimensional space
We must find the fundamental
law of sevenfoldness. Once we have found it, we have a foundation for
an understanding of the inner sequence of the seven steps. If, for instance,
we look at anything that exists in our surroundings, we find that it
has a past and also a future. In between past and future, it exists
at the present moment. If we look at the flowers on our table, we know
that they were growing in the past, and that they will decay or wither
in the future, but in between these two stages they are here at the
present time. Thus they do not only exist in space but also in time.
As far as the objects in
nature existing in time, we can observe three steps: past, present,
and future. These three steps are nothing but a simplified sevenfoldness.
We find that the first three steps are always drawn together into that
which we call “the past”. Everything belonging to the past
in reality always bears the mark of three stages of development. If
our observations are made thoroughly, we find this everywhere as a fundamental
law. Also, that which we call the future reveals itself as a threefoldness.
In between these two, past and future, stands the present as a single
moment in time. Thus evolution or development in time reveals itself
as a sevenfoldness.
Moreover, if our observations
are made still more exactly and carefully, we find that the three steps
on either side of the scales of past and future have an inner relationship
to one another. Thus the first step of the past appears to be connected
with the last of the three steps on the side of the future. The first
stage of the sevenfold sequence of any evolution is related to the seventh
stage, the second to the sixth, the third to the fifth, and in between
stands the fourth, which as present links the past with the future.
If we try to realize this
as an imagination, we begin to form a picture similar to the “sevenfold
candlestick” of the Old Testament, and we realize that the sevenfold
candlestick, which stood upon the altar of the Tabernacle, was an image
of that which the Hebrew people had to develop in time. Moses, the founder
of the Hebrew nation, knew this task. The Hebrews had to create an able
body to serve as a true vessel for the descending Christ Being. This
could only be accomplished in the course of time. Therefore, Moses created
the image of time in the sevenfold candlestick as the comforting light
on the long and weary path of his people.
Today, if we could realize
this fundamental law of time, then our cultural and personal life would
be less chaotic and disturbed. In many circumstances we escape from
spiritual quests with the excuse that “we have no time”,
or if we have an impulse, we very often become impatient and want to
realize it at once. We cannot recognize that from the time of its conception
to its realization it has to develop step by step until it has evolved
to fulfillment; otherwise, this seed can be spoiled by a premature birth.
Sometimes we forget that we may have to wait seven years, or three times
seven years, or even a longer interval until our impulses and ideas
can be realized.
We must again learn the
secret laws of time in order to become healthier in our soul life and
even the life of our body. Sevenfoldness is the fundamental law of time,
but there are other mysteries of time of which we cannot now speak.
This law can be found everywhere
in our universe, but it reveals the essence of its inner dynamic rhythm
in the life of a human being. If we look into the life of a grown-up
human being, we can also distinguish between his or her past, present,
and future. The past of each of us is our youth, which includes childhood,
infancy, and even the prenatal embryonic life. The farther we go back
into the past the more we find a dependence upon the protecting powers
surrounding us. We are not yet our own master; other beings have to
take care of us. However, as we advance in life we gradually become
independent. Whatever age we have reached at present we find that we
have, to a certain extent, freed ourselves from some protecting power.
The newborn baby has been separated from the body of its mother. Later
on, as fully-grown persons, we separate ourselves from many other connections.
Whatever may be the “present” of a human life, it is always
the manifestation of a single being that has freed itself from a preceding
condition of existence. This single being, having become independent
of previous conditions, is the determining power in its own third step
of evolution — the future. Inasmuch as the single being has become
independent in its “present”, it will be able to manifest
itself in the future as a single being against the background of the
conditions from which it has emancipated itself. Thus, human life reveals
three steps of evolution in time:
Past: Dependence upon many other conditions and beings.
Present: Emancipation and independence.
Future: Manifestation and activity as a single individual being.
Thereby, we have found the
fundamental character of the three steps of past, present, and future
as they reveal themselves through our life. As time is sevenfold, we
must now find the fundamental character of the three steps of the past
and those of the future and in between them the one step of the present.
If we succeed in finding the character of this sevenfoldness, we will
not only solve the riddle of one of the laws of time but we will also
be able to read the inner characters and capacities of the five planets
and of the Sun and Moon. We finally come to the reason why we have undertaken
this seemingly dry and weary task of discovering the law of the sevenfoldness
The essence of evolution
is emancipation. Some being that hitherto has been submerged in an ocean
of general existence moves toward individual existence. In order to
start our observations, let us take the newborn baby at its present
stage and then look back into its past. First, at the moment of conception
it came into existence through father and mother. Mighty Will powers,
which we call destiny, entered the lives of the father and mother. Through
these Will powers the gateway into physical existence was opened for
the soul of the baby. This was the first step, but this would not have
been enough. Life forces penetrated the germ of the physical body and
brought it more and more into a human form until it was born. Even a
third step was necessary to enable the organism from a certain time
onward to have sensations and to feel pain or satisfaction through its
own bodily needs.
We have now described three
stages of creation during which powers in the universe, beyond the control
of the human being, help to bring into existence a being:
First: mighty Will powers bring about physical existence. The germ
of a single individual body is created.
Second: this germ of an individual body is permeated by life forces
that mold the germ into an image of its parents.
Third: as the germ is molded more and more into an image of its parents,
it is also permeated by Soul forces and by forces of consciousness.
In describing these three
stages we have also described the characteristics and the capacities
of the three superior planets — Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars.
Saturn appears always as
the manifestation of those forces in the universe that create the germ
of single, physical existence for all kinds of beings, whether they
need the bodies of stones, plants, animals, or human beings for their
earthly presence. Tremendous Will powers emanate from these Saturn Beings.
From Jupiter, Life powers
stream forth that endow the germs of single physical existence with
forces of vitality. Here, however, we meet a difficulty. We can perceive
that the plant is still permeated by life forces, but we cannot see
these in the mineral. We have to recognize that the minerals cannot
be vitalized by the Jupiter forces, although these forces are reflected.
The second stage of the sevenfold evolution works in a different way
within the mineral kingdom. The crystal forms of the minerals arose
from the reflection of the Jupiter forces in past cycles of evolution,
revealing the magnificent wisdom of the cosmos. We shall also see later
how these forces of cosmic wisdom are connected with Jupiter.
Mars is the giver of Soul
forces. By Soul forces we mean the powers that enable creatures to have
sensations and emotions, aroused either by events in the outer world
or by activities from within their own body. These perceptions may awaken
either sympathy or antipathy. Thus, for instance, the newborn baby is
capable of experiencing any impression that is made by the surrounding
world either as painful or comfortable. A needle piercing the skin can
be explained merely as a mechanical occurrence, but this does not explain
the fact that the baby begins to cry. The injury caused is experienced
qualitatively in a different sphere from that of the mere physiological
The capacity for soul experience
is already there in the newborn baby, but what about the lifeless substances
and the plants? We cannot say that soul capacities are inborn in these
objects, still the Mars forces work upon everything that comes into
being. The lifeless substances, like the minerals and the simpler living
beings such as the plants, have only a “reflection” of them.
Soul forces reflect themselves in the chemical properties of these objects.
If I look at the pen in my hand, then I certainly cannot say that it
has anything like sensations, but while it was still in the making,
before it came into my hands, the seed of disintegration was already
implanted into it. This destiny, which brings inevitable disintegration,
seems at first to negate life, yet we have to deal with it. Here the
aggressive nature of Mars appears that ultimately destroys what has
been created. We also find that where Mars creates soul capacities it
sows the seed of disintegration as well, because the soul forces and
the emotions of pleasure and pain finally destroy the body of a human
being. These forces flow into all created beings before they enter the
phase of their present existence.
The Sun forces create or
cause the present state of being in all objects of creation. In the
present age they also cause emancipation and striving toward independence.
Let us again think of the newborn baby. It has just been born, that
means it has been separated from the body of its mother, which it has
physiologically been a part of before birth. Now it is physiologically
separated, and as it grows up it strives toward independence. This is
also shown by the fact that one of the first acts of those around the
child is to give it its own name. It is recognized as an individual
being. With our senses we can realize that it has its own body, and
we even hope that this body will grow more and more independent of the
necessities of life in which it is involved during its early infancy
We cannot speak of an impulse
of individualization within the lower kingdoms of nature in the same
way as we can within humanity, although the Sun impulse is also working
there. The sunlight brings the existing objects in nature into the sphere
of our sense experience. The sunlight makes them visible to our eyes;
we perceive their outlines and their colors. Let us think of the construction
of the first steam engine. First, the idea came to the inventor; this
was the Saturn stage. Then the inventor had to ponder over his idea
and consider it in connection with mechanical and physical laws, with
the technical achievements of his age. He had to enter the world of
universal wisdom as far as it was revealed to humanity; this was the
Jupiter stage of the making of the steam engine. Then as the inventor
went further in the realization of his plan, he had to use the earthly
substances, such as iron and steel, into which were already implanted
chemical reactions that determined the stability of the metal, to consider
the reactions of the steam, etc. These facts later might have caused
the failure or the unpopularity of his machine; this was the Mars period
of the steam engine. Then one day the engine was completed. It could
be seen as an entity and everyone could perceive how it moved and worked.
Now as a machine it had entered the phase of its “present state
of being”. It had also entered the realm of empirical perception;
this was the work of the Sun forces. They create the realm of “empiricism”,
which shines like the light of the Sun upon the individualized object.
We have now described the
working of the Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars forces as processes in time.
These forces, through which all beings that enter into existence must
pass, are connected with the “making” of the objects in
the universe. They represent the past. The three stages of the past
can, however, greatly differ in time according to the nature of the
object. They can last through ages of “astronomical” duration,
or they can also shrink together into a few seconds, but they can always
Now let us think of the
last three steps of the sevenfold cycle of evolution. The fourth step
was the emancipation of the creature from its origin. In the following
steps the individualized being strives according to its capacities to
manifest itself as a free being, and in manifesting itself, which is
possible only if it steps into the future, it can reveal and free all
that which has been born into it during the first stages of the past.
For instance, as the baby
grows up it becomes more and more active in life. However, as the human
being becomes active, there appear as the background of its activity
all those soul forces that already were implanted in it before birth:
its likes and dislikes; its inborn capacity for painful or joyful reactions,
either furthering or hindering its actions; and as life goes on, its
activity becomes a kind of teacher and redeemer of those inborn soul
qualities. Very often this teacher within the realm of our activity
is wiser than we are ourselves, and It becomes our spiritual guide,
gifted with the authority of destiny.
These forces come from the
planet that is called Mercury in astronomy. Thus Mercury is the redeemer
of the Mars forces that we described above. The ways of destiny, along
which the spirit of Mercury leads the human being for its redemption,
are often strange and incomprehensible. It is only if we strive for
the spiritual understanding of our own destiny that we can consciously
find a connection with the spirit of Mercury who represents the fifth
step in the sevenfold law of time.
The planet called Venus
in astronomy represents the sixth step. The sixth step is related to
the second, to Jupiter. As Jupiter is the giver of the forces of Life
and Wisdom, Venus is connected with the development of these forces
of creating life by the human being. Still, the human being of today
is far from being able to create life within its sphere on Earth, although
in deep unconsciousness we are actually doing this. There are activities
in the unconscious depths of our organism, which not only destroy life
but also create life; however, we do not yet have any control over these.
In a far future time, humanity
will be able to develop similar activities consciously, and then we
will be able to create not only objects like dead machines but also
beings like the plants that bear life. Thus Venus works in the depths
of the human organism. Human art is a faint dawning glow of those forces
that one day will be fully awake in humanity.
The seventh step is brought
about by the Moon. Although the Moon is near to the Earth, the capacities
that are connected with its sphere are very far away from the consciousness
of humanity. The seventh step, the Moon, is related to the first step,
Saturn. Saturn appears connected with that stage of all evolution where
an impulse or a soul being, penetrated by mighty supernatural Will powers,
enters the physical realm and creates for itself a bodily vessel. Now,
after having gone through all the stages of creation and individualization,
at the seventh stage it has reached such perfection as an individual
being that it can endow pure soul existence with physical existence.
In human beings today there
lives only a dim reflection of this capacity. It is only a prophecy
of that which one day in a far off future time will be a fully developed
and consciously controlled activity. It is the capacity of “re-production”,
deeply rooted in our organism and guided by spiritual beings. This power
today is only a very dim image of its real spiritual counterpart.