The Astrosophy Center Section Name Astrosophy Research Center  

Isis Sophia I

On-line since: 31st January, 2017

THIRD LETTER - June 1944
The Spiritual Nature of the Fixed-Star Zodiac

The universe of our solar system with its planets revolving around a common center is a rather complicated organism. According to the opinion of Ptolemy, the Earth is in the center of this organism; according to Copernicus, the Sun is in the center and holds a firm grip on the planets so that they do not leave their orbits. (Rudolf Steiner has indicated the lemniscatory movement as the basis of the future conception of the planetary universe. It is the intention to come back to these problems in due course, especially when we will have to deal with the nature of the planets.) The Ptolemaic as well as the Copernican universe has the form of a circular plane, with the orbits of the planets lying within this like concentric rings of a disc. This circular plane is surrounded by a girdle of twelve constellations of fixed stars, which we call the fixed-star Zodiac. The names of these twelve constellations are given in the first letter.

We have now to speak about the nature of these twelve constellations of the Zodiac. They form the “external” world of our solar system, and they are related to our solar system as our external world is related to us.

How are we related to our external world? We find in our earthly surroundings the solid substances, the liquid substances, the gaseous substances, and warmth. All this we find within the human form only in transformed conditions. The origin of these substances we find in our surroundings. They form the basis of our physical existence. We take them in, and we are continuously taking them in as we live on Earth, as we breathe and eat. In looking at these substances and finding them again in a transmuted condition within our body, we can read the story of the creation and organization of the human being. Of course, we must not only look at these substances from the point of view of materialistic thinking in order to learn the story of the creation of our body, it is also necessary to find their spiritual qualities.

One can imagine that the relationship between the fixed-star Zodiac and the solar world is constituted in a similar way. Our solar system must have come into being in times about which we can not judge according to earthly standards. Where did it come from? Just as the substances that we find within the human body once must have been part of the surrounding world, so the essential being of our universe may originate in the surrounding world of the fixed stars. There, too, we would have to consider this world of the fixed stars not only from a purely quantitative point of view but also from a qualitative aspect.

If we accept this, then we can look at the fixed stars, and among them especially at the fixed stars of the Zodiac, as the realm where we can learn something about the origin and creation of our solar universe. Searching for the traces of creation may reveal to us the inner nature of the Zodiac.

Rudolf Steiner has given the key for an understanding of the evolution of our universe in his book An Outline of Occult Science [currently titled Outline of Esoteric Science]. There he describes the various steps of creation down to the universe in which we now live and perceive with our senses. He describes the process of evolution as it presents itself to the spiritual perception of the clairvoyant who has gone along the path of modern and western initiation. We can follow his explanations because he also gives, in the book mentioned above, the methods for the attainment of the modern clairvoyance. What he says about the evolution of the world is not a hypothesis incapable of being proven true; anyone can find the proof who is willing to follow the path of modern initiation as there described. Thereby, Dr. Steiner describes three great stages of the evolution of our universe, which then lead to a fourth stage in the creation of the world in which we live. These three great stages of evolution, according to the occult tradition, are named: Ancient Saturn evolution, Ancient Sun evolution, and Ancient Moon evolution. The fourth stage is called Earth evolution, which in fact means the evolution of our present solar universe. These four stages of evolution represent the condensation of something into solid matter with all the states of condensation in between, which in its origin is of purely psychic nature; indications of which are still to be found today in the gaseous, liquid, and solid substances in nature. (The idea of materialization of “thoughts” as the process of evolution has even been entertained by modern natural science.)

The step of evolution that is called Ancient Saturn is the state where pure psychic being (in the sense of modern natural science, the “thought”) was condensed to warmth. With this, the very first step of creation of physical substance was accomplished. (It may be that, according to modern science, warmth or heat cannot easily be regarded as physical substance but only as a condition assumed by physical substance. We shall have to speak about this later.)

The Ancient Sun evolution is the state where the previously created warmth substance is condensed into the gaseous condition. In the cycle ofAncient Moon evolution, the formerly created gaseous substances are then condensed to the liquid state, and in the fourth stage — within the Earth evolution — a further condensation takes place, and the liquid substances are transformed into solid matter.

This is, of course, only a very brief outline of these four states of evolution, and it will now be our task to elaborate them more in detail and find the link to the fixed-star Zodiac.

The Ancient Saturn Evolution

If one goes back to the very beginning of creation by the means of higher knowledge — in the sense of modern initiation — there is no physical substance to be found. Everything is still in psychic and spiritual condition. Whereas one cannot, for instance, imagine thoughts without their being connected with the individual psychic existence of a human being, so we will find this psychic nature of the universe existing in the inner life, not of physical, but of spiritual beings. And as we have to distinguish in the realm of human thought life between human beings who have the capacity to create ideas, and others who are able to realize and put them into practice, so we must also distinguish between hierarchies of spiritual beings who have different capacities of materializing the psychic, archetypal substance created in their midst.

Thus we will find there, in the beginning, spiritual beings that have attained, in a certain moment of their inner, timeless evolution, the capacity of pouring forth the original psychic substances; the “idea” or the “thought” or whatever it may have been. This substance can then be taken on by other beings.

If nothing exists in a physical sense, the first thing is that the “will to (physical) existence” comes forth — and so it is. Exalted spiritual Beings, whom Dr. Steiner calls Spirits of Will, have attained the capacity to pour forth Will as a psychic substance. This Will becomes the foundation of everything that, in the course of evolution, becomes physical.

These Spirits of Will were only able to stream forth their Will-substance after a long inner evolution. What was a beginning, from the point of view of the creation of our universe, must have meant for these spirits the end of an inner development. This first act of creation is a conclusion and new start in one.

Can the “mother-ground” of our solar universe, the fixed-star Zodiac, tell us anything about this event as a kind of cosmic remembrance? We can find it written into the constellation of Fishes as it presents itself today in the sky. (Rudolf Steiner, in Outline of Esoteric Science, has not indicated any connection between the events during the various stages of the evolution of our universe and the constellations of the Zodiac as it is done here. How it is done in these letters is entirely the writer's own responsibility.)

The Fishes, as we see it today according to the imaginations of our ancestors, consists of two fishes swimming in opposite directions, and yet they are tied together by a kind of star ribbon. The Fishes is between Waterman and Ram. It forms the twelfth constellation of the Zodiac. There the Zodiac comes to an end and starts anew with the constellation of Ram. Thus Fishes is the image of the end of an evolution that took place within the being of the Spirits of Will before they were able to pour forth the original substance of our universe and also the image of the commencement of the evolutionary cycles of our universe.

The constellation of Fishes is swimming in the water that Waterman pours into the universe. In this water we can perceive, with the organs of higher knowledge, the image of the all-creative substance of the spiritual universe — the creative spiritual bloodstream of the spiritual world. It has all the possibilities of manifestation in itself. The archetypes of all existing things in the physical and soul world are as though dissolved in this stream. They have not even come into a psychic form yet, but now Fishes appears in this heavenly water. The first traces of a psychic solidification of single objects appear. The archetypes of the will — the foundation of physical existence — are consolidated within the sea of creative possibilities.

Now, after the primeval substance has been created, the evolution of Ancient Saturn begins. Other spiritual Beings unfold their activity and direct it toward the primeval Will-substance. Dr. Steiner calls them Spirits of Wisdom. They have attained another capacity by then. They are able to pour forth forces of Life, and they direct these forces toward this “planet of Will”, which had come into existence. This planet, which we now call Ancient Saturn, is not able to receive life. It has not advanced so far as to become alive. It is still like a lifeless substance that can only reflect what is going on in its environment, and so it reflects those life forces that are coming from the Spirits of Wisdom. Reflected life is wisdom, because the inner being of life is wisdom. Thus it happens that these cosmic wisdom-forces in the environment of the planet form something like a sphere.

We can find this stage of evolution remembered, as it were, in the constellation of Ram. The Ram bears a white fleece. The head of the animal image is crowned with horns wound like two inverted spirals.

This cosmic process can be experienced like a gigantic embryonic development of our universe. In itself, it bears the archetypal image of everything that is embryonic process in the various stages of evolution and also within the single beings of this universe; for instance, the embryonic development of the human being. We know from the science of embryology that during the first stages of the embryonic condition the head is predominant and the trunk and the limbs are only a kind of attachment to the head. One could even say that during the first weeks, when the brain of the embryo is not developed in detail, the whole embryonic organism resembles a brain as it is wound like a spiral. Out of it, all the parts of the organism grow step by step.

The first stage of Ancient Saturn evolution is the creation of the archetype of the brain. The human brain today is but a faint copy of this cosmic brain, and yet it still bears the imprints of its spiritual form. It has to be to a high degree lifeless — without blood — for only then can it function. It functions so that the life in the surroundings of the human being is reflected in it. This reflection, being only a shadow of the true life, can produce thinking; the knowledge of the objects in the outer world.

This we can find in the image of the resting Ram, revealing the stage when the Spirits of Wisdom were active, the still lifeless Will-substance, the reflection (expressed in the head of the Ram, which is turned back looking over its shoulders), and the creation of the white fleece of Wisdom. Even in the horns of the Ram we can see the image of the curves of the brain, or the spiral of the embryo as a primeval “brain”, reflecting and reproducing form as though in an act of remembrance.

The following step ofAncient Saturn evolution is connected with an influx of soul forces, or consciousness forces, into the planet. These forces come from spirits whom Dr. Steiner calls “Spirits of Motion”. They are able to pour forth forces of inner Motion, of soul movement. Thus the substance of the planet would be animated, but as it was not able to receive Life from the Spirits of Wisdom, it is still less prepared to be animated. Therefore, these forces are also reflected by the planet into the environment of Ancient Saturn, and as they are reflected, they penetrate the sphere of wisdom representing the reflected Life previously emanating from the Spirits of Wisdom. Forces of animation — of soul consciousness — thus penetrate the halo of Wisdom around Saturn. We have a somewhat similar process to that which happens when, within the soul life of the human being, the reflection of the objective world by the function of the brain is penetrated by forces of consciousness; then we create concepts of the world around us. For instance, the fact of the fading away of the daylight, perceived by our senses, reflected by our brain, and then penetrated by consciousness, can create the concept of night. This process is even the foundation of human language. Certainly today the human being expresses the same facts by different sounds and words according to the different languages, but once, in times long ago, the human being through forming sounds and words could express and indicate the true inner nature of objects.

We can experience something similar in this period of evolution of Ancient Saturn only on a gigantic and much more powerful scale. By the interpenetration of the Wisdom forces with the soul forces, which originate in the activity of the Spirits of Motion, archetypal concepts, archetypal sounds, and words are created though not of a passive and reflective nature as in human language of today. A kind of cosmic archetypal language comes into being, which is creative in its nature and is a magic power in the universe. It is the Word of God through which all things that exist were made.

We can find this step of evolution written into the constellation of Bull. It can be found between the constellations of Perseus (above) and Orion (below). One can only see the front part of the Bull's body, but altogether it resembles an animal of great strength; the symbol of fertility. This primeval process of evolution has also left its imprint in the human organism. If we look at the constellation as it is mostly depicted, only with the head of the Bull and the huge horns reaching out into the universal space, then we have an image of the human larynx and the inner ear. The head is the larynx, and the horns are the connecting canals leading to the middle ear where the tiny bones connect the outer part with the innermost parts of the ear.

During the following period of Ancient Saturn evolution, other spiritual Beings begin to be active that are called “Spirits of Form”. They radiate forces into the universe that want to divide and to individualize what is still united in one huge planetary body. Yet the planet is still less able to take these forces in. Only the reflection of this activity remains with the substance. This reflection affects the planet in such a way that the substance is divided into many single bodies, and the planet, which hitherto has been one single body, appears like a huge mulberry. The small berries, resulting from the individualizing influence emanating from the Spirits of Form, cannot achieve inner individualization during this period of evolution, but they produce a kind of outer image; the division into single bodies. These single bodies become the formation of all later manifoldness of beings in our universe; in all the different realms of existence. We can find this event commemorated in the constellation of Twins, which can be found in the sky to the east of Bull and above the Little Dog of Orion. It shows two beings, similar to human beings, which are closely related to each other and yet are individual beings.

The process of division within Ancient Saturn evolution can also be found as a kind of remembrance still today in nature. It is the process of cell division. We know that it is the physical foundation of growth. First we find the one original cell. As soon as it is taken over by the forces of growth, it is split into two. The oneness is destroyed; however, a twofoldness is created instead, and we have the image of Twins. Then, of course, the two are split into four as the process of growth proceeds, and so on. Thus manifoldness is created that may also have the appearance of a mulberry, after some time.

This event is remembered also within the human form but in a very peculiar way. It is present in the symmetry of the human form. That our body has two sides, two ears, two eyes, two hands, two feet, and so on, is due to this influence. This twofoldness separates us from the rest of the world. It makes it possible for us to exist within a body that is the foundation for the individuality. Symmetry shows the last traces of a long evolution, whereby the human form was separated from the neighboring forms so that an individuality could dwell in it. Also the other twins — head and feet — separate the human form from that which is above and below. This is also necessary for the free development of individuality.

We have now arrived in the middle of Ancient Saturn evolution where important changes and transmutations take place. Until now everything on Saturn is still in a more or less psychic condition. We have been speaking of substance, but this substance is the Will that is derived from the Spirits of Will. As Will it is still in a psychic condition. In the following letter, we shall see how this psychic substance is transmuted into physical substance in the middle period of Ancient Saturn evolution.

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