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Isis Sophia I

On-line since: 31st January, 2017

TENTH LETTER - January 1945
The Nature of the Planetary World - Jupiter


In order to understand the activity of the planet Jupiter, we will again have to build our investigations upon indications of Rudolf Steiner in his two books Outline of Esoteric Science and Theosophy.

We came to the conclusion that the Saturn of our solar system is a kind of repetition or memory picture of Ancient Saturn evolution. The question now arises whether the spheres of the other planets carry within them, in a similar way, the memories of the following cycles of the world evolution. For instance, the sphere of Jupiter, that is to say the space which is enclosed in the orbit of this planet, is the next after Saturn, and we could imagine that it is connected with the second great cycle in evolution called, according to the language of Esoteric Science, Ancient Sun evolution.

In these letters we have not spoken in detail, so far, of the evolutionary cycles following Ancient Saturn evolution; therefore, we will now try to give a very short characterization of Ancient Sun evolution, which is described elaborately in An Outline of Esoteric Science. [Also see the authors Isis Sophia II.]

The physical image of humanity was created on Ancient Saturn. It didn't have life yet or consciousness. It was like an automaton or a mirror that reflected the activities of the higher beings around it. After this very first ancestor of humanity had been created and brought to a certain completion, the planet was dissolved again into a pure spiritual state of existence. All the hierarchical beings withdrew to higher regions of the spiritual world. A kind of “cosmic night” ensues during which nothing of a physical nature can be recognized by clairvoyant perception. After this interval of “cosmic sleep” had come to an end, a new cycle of evolution started called Ancient Sun. In the first stages, a repetition of Ancient Saturn evolution took place until again a physical image of humanity came into being in the same form as it had already existed on Ancient Saturn. Then an entirely new impulse altered the course of evolution. The physical form of the ancestor of the human race was penetrated by life forces. Through this influx, which was brought about by the Spirits of Wisdom or Kyriotetes, everything was changed, even the substance of the planet itself. Hitherto it had consisted only of warmth. Now, at the time of the penetration by the life forces, a part of the warmth changed or was condensed into “air” or light. (In the following cycles of this planetary evolution, the other hierarchies besides the Spirits of Wisdom worked upon the human ancestor, which consisted now of a physical and an ether or life body.) We must now have in mind that the decisive impulse of this cycle came from the Spirits of Wisdom or Kyriotetes, who in sacrificing a part of their own Being created the ether or life body of humanity.

We will now come back to the description that Dr. Steiner gives in Theosophy of the experiences of the human soul in the life after death. In the last letter we spoke about the third region of the so-called Spiritland in connection with the sphere of Saturn, where the soul experiences the archetypes of the soul world. In the preceding second region the soul experiences the archetypes of life. Rudolf Steiner says of this region [on page 99] in Theosophy, “The next region is that in which the common life of the Earth world flows as thought Being; as a fluid element, so to speak, of the Spiritland. As long as we observe the world during physical embodiment, life appears to be confined within separate living beings. In Spiritland it is loosed from them and, like life blood, flows through the whole land. There, it is the living unity that is present in everything.”

Of this region Rudolf Steiner says, in the lecture cycle The Life Between Death and Rebirth (Berlin 1912–13), that it is the sphere of the planet Jupiter. Thus we have gained two points of view: the sphere in which the soul experiences the archetypes of life after death is the sphere of Jupiter, and the cosmic moment when life entered and penetrated the physical forms was during Ancient Sun evolution. Further on Dr. Steiner indicated that the sphere of Jupiter in our solar system is the dwelling place of the Kyriotetes who endowed physical existence with life forces.

It is now quite clear that we can look upon the planet Jupiter and its sphere as the source of the life forces in humanity and the universe. This fact we shall have to set forth in the following pages.

We live today in an age that has gained an elaborate knowledge of the physical world of matter. It is the world of the mineral kingdom, the lifeless substance that modern science has investigated thoroughly. But the world of life is still a great mystery. We can experience its traces and expressions everywhere in nature, but we do not know from where it comes. We cannot yet get hold of those forces that, in all living organisms, lift the matter out of its purely mineral reactions and chemical activities. They cannot be perceived with the physical senses as they are hidden from them. The methods that we use, so far, in modern science are insufficient to penetrate into the realm of these forces, yet spiritual science speaks of them as a supersensible reality that can be perceived by clairvoyant capacities. It even speaks of an ether or life body of the living organism as the active entity of life. Therefore, we certainly cannot say that it is here or it is there; we can only prepare our own being according to the instructions of spiritual science so that it may become an instrument with which we can perceive the life forces. However, we can try to understand the activity of these life forces with our thinking capacity. This is even the first step of preparation upon the path to higher knowledge.

The question is: what is life? What is the ether or life body? Rudolf Steiner calls it the architect of the physical body, that which builds up the physical body according to a preconceived plan. We can now ask: why is it that the physical body needs the activity of another higher member that carries the plan of its form? According to what we read about the creation of the physical body within Ancient Saturn, we can have the impression that this body was the complete image or mirror of the activities and intentions of the Gods. Thus we might imagine that it has in its own existence the imprint of the plan of its form. It may seem difficult to understand why another “body” should have to be active to create this form. Still we cannot solve this riddle if we do not understand the sense and the spiritual goal of the whole evolution of our universe through the stages already described as Ancient Saturn, Ancient Sun, Ancient Moon, Earth, and so on.

In the very beginning on Ancient Saturn, a physical image of the human being was created by the Gods. This image was a picture of their own being. Thus the deeper meaning of all creation reveals itself as the creation of a being in the universe that is an image of the hierarchies, or of God. But the Gods did not want to create only a kind of automaton or mirror that is only able to reflect the beings of the spiritual world “mechanically”. They wanted to create a being that is able, at a certain moment, to attain self-consciousness. This being would be able to ascend from the state of the reflecting creature to the state of creator, for the state of being an image of the spiritual worlds would then be combined with the state of self-consciousness. The spiritual universe — that is, all the hierarchical beings — would then complete and elevate their own existence through the being of humanity, who could not only be their image but also have a self-conscious knowledge of it. Thus creation would complete itself in self-perception; the choir of the beings in the spiritual world would experience their own existence and activity.

The being that was created as the Saturn ancestor of humanity was bound to become a vehicle toward self-consciousness. However, self-consciousness is at first a contradiction to the cosmic consciousness, to the consciousness of the Gods. Therefore, this Saturn being, which then came into existence, had to go on the long journey toward its “self”. This meant a dropping away from the Gods, step by step. And those steps are already indicated in the smaller cycles of Ancient Saturn; for instance, the division of the Saturn planet into the many single warmth Beings, which became the origin of the human physical bodies of today, was already a step upon the long path leading into the loneliness of the self.

Here we have to make a very definite distinction that the physical body is the image of the existence and the activity of the hierarchies. As it is an image, it can never drop away from the Gods, because it is part of their own being. But this body is invisible to earthly senses; it is, so to speak, the highest archetypal idea of humanity, which dwells in the realms of the Gods. The body that became the vehicle on the road to self-consciousness, or ego-consciousness, is the matter-body that is composed of the solid, liquid, gaseous, and heat-substances of the Earth. It bears the imprint of the physical body, of the archetype of humanity, but it has moved away from its origin, even from its archetypal origin — from the Gods — in order to become a “self'. This was a necessity. Moving away from the Gods means we become more and more defective as we sink further into the body of matter. It necessitates the experience of illness and death, and this is the destiny of the matter body of humanity. We could not experience illness and death if somewhere there did not live within us the reality of eternal health and life. As humanity has moved away from its God-Willed origin more and more, illness and death have overtaken it on a much wider scale than is usually realized. All the misery of earthly existence, all the imperfection and incapacity to master our earthly tasks are only a part of the illness that has overtaken humanity on its road from the Gods to selfhood. If, after having attained the self — the “I' we can win back in the future the divine image of our own being step by step and with it the image of the whole spiritual universe of the hierarchies and the physical world, then we can redeem our great illness. Then the Gods, who do not know illness, will live in us and through us. They will give us their eternal youth and life, and we will give them the self-consciousness of their own existence.

There is one mediator between that which has fallen into the abyss of imperfection and the cosmic archetypes. This is the ether body. It received and continually receives, during life on Earth, the divine images of the cosmic form of humanity and works them into the earthly body. Thus it works against the forces of decline and illness. From the very moment when life enters the embryo, it builds up the body out of tremendous resources of cosmic memory. In the development of the single embryo, which is called the ontogeny — the course of the phylogeny — the history of the development of the whole human race is repeated. The ether body can do this, because it comprehends the history of the oldest stages of human development. Thus it defies the God-denying forces that dwell in the human being, which tend to lead it still further away from its spiritual origin. The ether body cannot bring the falling human form back to the spiritual archetype at once. It can only do it from step to step and over and over again, and then it overcomes the forces of illness and death. Every night the ether body receives anew, the cosmic archetypal forms and impulses that it impresses again and again into the matter body. We feel it then as health-bearing and refreshing forces after sleep. Thus the ether body can only accomplish its task of mediation in time; therefore, we can also call it the time body, because only in time can it achieve the redemption of the fallen matter and restore it to the archetypal image.

The patience and the memory power of the ether body indicate that there is a gigantic world of universal wisdom present in it. We can understand this if we imagine that the ether body was created by the Spirits of Wisdom. It is wisdom that carries in itself the thoughts of the Gods from the very beginning of the universe, and the thoughts about the ultimate goal of this universe. As the thoughts of the Gods live in the ether forces as a kind of reflection, we can also imagine that they are alive in human thinking. What lives in the human being as the impulse, the capacity of thinking, is only the other aspect of the ether body besides its up-building and regenerating activity.

During the great cycle of the Earth evolution, the ether body was mainly engaged in safeguarding the matter body from decline and a too-strong estrangement from its cosmic origin. But the development of thinking, which is not so very old in humanity, indicates that the ether body — or now we can say, the forces derived from the Jupiter sphere — not only preserves the past, but also belongs to the future of the universe. At present the ether body is completely incorporated or submerged into the matter body. In olden times this was different, as the ether body was partly outside the matter body, and through this the human being was able to perceive the higher, spiritual regions of the universe. However, it could only do so in a dreamlike way because the self-consciousness was not yet fully achieved. There will again come a time when the ether forces will be freed from the matter body and will no longer only be engaged in building it up but will unfold their bright, shining light of cosmic memory and foresight. Then they will be penetrated by self-consciousness, by the forces of the “I”, and then they will reveal not only a reflective capacity but a creative faculty that will be able to build up a new universe according to the great Imaginations of the Gods. This will be the true, spiritual image of humanity. In the language of the Revelation of St. John, this is called the New Jerusalem.

Now we can understand when Rudolf Steiner says in Esoteric Science that the present Jupiter is a dwelling place of beings who are too advanced to take part in the evolution of the Earth as a planet, and who will be able to unfold their activity in a future great cycle of evolution that Esoteric Science calls “Jupiter”. These beings only “touch” or “float above” Earth existence at present, while the ether forces work as healing and refreshing forces for a whole life time, preventing the living organism from natural decay.

We will now try to recognize the activity of Jupiter in a number of historical nativities, and show how it appears as an indication of the archetypal nature of the ether forces of these personalities, as their ether-aura, so to speak. We will also see how Jupiter appears in all that which is not only a matter of personal destiny in human life but is connected with the striving and the progress of humanity as a whole; that which is useful and precious for the spiritual life of humanity, even if the personality who has created such works of healing spirit has long gone over the threshold of death. Jupiter will always reveal itself as the sphere of which Dr. Steiner says, in connection with the life after death, in his book Theosophy, “...It is there the living unity which is present in everything. Of this also, only a reflection appears to a human being during earthly life. This reflection expresses itself in every form of reverence that a human being pays to the whole, to the unity and harmony of the universe. The religious life of humanity is derived from this reflection. Human beings become aware of how far the all-embracing meaning of existence does not lie in what is transitory and separate. They regard the transitory as a “similitude”, a likeness of an eternal and harmonious unity. They look up to this unity in reverence and worship. They offer up before it religious rites and ceremonies... The fruits of the religious life and all connected with it make their appearance in this region ... The capacity to know oneself as a member of a whole develops itself here.”

Thomas More (born February 7, 1478): In the nativity of Thomas More, Jupiter had just entered the constellation of Ram. During the whole period of his embryonic development it made a loop in that part of the Zodiac where the image of Fishes joins hands with Ram. Altogether it was in a very prominent position.

This position of Jupiter indicates the primary conditions of the etheric organism of Thomas More. Jupiter gathers, at this moment, the impulses of Ram behind which live the activity and the Being of the Spirits of Wisdom themselves. Thus the cosmic wisdom and the creative life forces of Jupiter are still more exalted into a sphere of all-embracing cosmic thinking. We can experience this in More's attitude to life and his striving for knowledge. With a vitality such as is indicated in this Jupiter, he could not do otherwise than devote and order his life according to universal wisdom. Therefore, it is not astonishing that he became a disciple of “humanism” when still only nineteen years of age and when Erasmus of Rotterdam came to England. Later in his life, we see how he decided all his actions from the point of view of this universal wisdom. He was not a fanatic, in fact just the opposite, as he developed an attitude of absolute calm and self-mastery about whatever happened around him. He was steadfast and unshakable in his concepts and convictions, like Ram with its mighty horns. Even the threat of death could not change him. He could die for his ideas without being fanatical or fearful. The life attitude of Thomas More is the ideal description of Jupiter in Ram.

Dante (born May 1265): When Dante was born Jupiter stood in Bull where it was in conjunction with Saturn. Thus it is in a very prominent position, although the weight of a turbulent destiny (Saturn) presses down upon it. Bull is an expression of the Being and the activity of the Spirits of Motion. We can read in this indication that Dante's primary life tendencies were strongly directed toward the Word, the creative Word of the Gods, as well as the human word that has its origin in this constellation or in the spiritual realm behind it. It does not need much explanation to show how this universal Word was present in Dante as a life power. As the poet of the Divina Comedia, he really knew the “eternal names of all things and beings” — they were written into his ether body.

Dante's tragic destiny in connection with the political constellations of his age is expressed by Saturn in Bull. There the creative Word descends into the sphere of the will, and forges with mighty blows the manifold forms of earthly conditions that, from a super-individual point of view, are necessary for the whole of humanity.

Gotthold Lessing (born January 22, 1729): Jupiter stood between the constellations of Bull and Twins when Lessing was born. During most of the time of his embryonic development, it made a loop in the stars at the beginning of Twins. Twins is the cosmic expression of the forces of individualization in the universe. In their spiritual background, we found the Spirits of Form who prepared the human form until it was able to become a vessel for the “I”. Lessing's Jupiter was penetrated by these impulses, and again we can find this made manifest in the life attitude of this personality. We can say that he was the first journalist, but he had a very wide and comprehensive knowledge of the spiritual and cultural life of his age. Yet his strongest life impulse was his fight for the freedom of the individuality. He was one of the few modern personalities who, through logical thinking and a true impulse for education, came to the idea of reincarnation. In his last drama, Nathan the Wise, he expressed his convictions of the unity of all religions, confessions, and races in one worldwide Christendom. In his ether body, he inherited from the world of the archetypes of life the gift to recognize the eternal kernel of humanity's being, in spite of the misleading appearances of his earthly existence.

Richard Wagner (born May 22, 1813): When Wagner was born Jupiter was in Crab, but in opposition to Mars, which was then in Goat. Jupiter in Crab indicates a strong forming tendency. This case is very interesting because the opposition of Mars creates a contradiction in this personality. His soul forces, indicated by Mars, were not fully formed, at least not during his earlier life; they were almost explosive and sanguine. But the archetypal forces of his ether body were striving for strict form, which he actually achieved in his musical dramas. Yet he had to struggle almost a whole life time until he overcame those soul forces in himself that were too strongly living in cosmic spheres and were not easily transformed into earthbound forms.

Jupiter in Crab also indicates a special connection with the sphere of the Archangels, the folk spirits. This is also expressed in Richard Wagner's musical poems, which take up the thread of the great imaginations of Nordic mythology. In fact, he has formed in his life work the drama of the birth of the individuality out of the womb of the folk spirit.

Rudolf Steiner (born February 27, 1861): During the first half of Rudolf Steiner's embryonic development, Jupiter was in Crab; later it made a loop in Lion and stood in Lion at the time of his birth.

Here we meet Jupiter again in Crab. We have already said that this indicates a strong forming power of the ether body. We can find this tendency very well in Dr. Steiner's life. It is in the first half of his life that he was led by his particular destiny to the development of a very strong discipline of his thinking capacity as the only way of being able to bring to humanity a new and modern method for the cognition of the higher worlds. This is reflected in his fundamental book The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. [Paperback re-titled Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path.]

Later in his life, this disciplined thinking became the bearer of a gigantic and comprehensive message of the higher worlds that he brought to modern humanity as Anthroposophy. In it a true human reflection appeared — a microcosmic realization of the innermost soul of the macrocosm. This is indicated by Jupiter in Lion, and in Dr. Steiner's earthly life, we have an ideal representation of such archetypal ether forces, as this divine content flowed into the vessel of a disciplined thinking.

Raphael Santi (born March 26, 1483): In the prenatal life of Raphael, Jupiter moved through the last stars of Lion, but soon it entered Virgin where it also stood at the time of his birth.

With regard to Jupiter in Lion we have to give a similar description to that given for the case of Rudolf Steiner. Raphael was also one of the few who had listened to the heart beat of the universe. This was imprinted into his ether body as a great capacity of love.

The character of his ether forces changed into the mood of Virgin after his childhood. This change found the purest possible expression in Raphael's life, in the world of his manifold and uncounted pictures of the “Madonna with the Child”. The constellation of Virgin was able to find, through him, such a strong earthly manifestation, because as a painter he lived especially in a sphere of picture consciousness and imagination that is related to the world of the archetypes of life, the source of which is in Jupiter.

Raphael's pictures of the Madonna are not only representations of the birth of the Jesus child; they have a much deeper meaning. They reveal the experience of the birth of the Son of God, the Lord of Eternal Life into the soul world, even into the world of all creation. This is the true meaning of the constellation of Virgin.

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